POLK CITY (FOX 13) - The search for a missing Haines City woman ended with a grim discovery Friday morning when deputies found the body of Yanela Lorente, who had been missing since the weekend. They believe she killed herself.
“Our hearts are broken. We had all hoped for the best,” Sheriff Grady Judd said after announcing the news.
Lorente, 28, was last seen Sunday evening, leaving her home on Cherokee Avenue. Her car was later found parked at the FWC Hilochee Osprey Unit Wildlife Reserve off Old Polk City Road, but there was no sign of her.
Officers, deputies, and agents had spent the last few days combing through the sprawling underbrush of the park, until an agriculture deputy found a body in what Sheriff Judd described as an “incredibly thick wooded swamp area.”
“I asked our deputy, ‘How in the world did you find her here?’ He said, ‘My wife told me last night I needed to pray more and pray hard. I did a great deal of praying last night and eventually I was led to her today. It’s just a God thing,’” Judd recalled.
Lorente’s live-in boyfriend, Ruben Leal Mesa, and roommate Ian Lloyd had both been named as persons interest in the case. Police say the two men, who are also business partners, went to the Orlando outlet mall to buy a gaming computer. They didn't let Lorente tag along, which apparently upset her.
An autopsy completed Friday afternoon determined Lorente's cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Her family, meanwhile, was being consoled by Haines City police after arriving from South Florida earlier this week to help with the search.
“Our hearts go out to this young lady’s family,” Haines City Police Chief Gary Hester offered. “This was not the outcome we were all hoping and praying for.”