Boyfriend of slain Suwannee County woman arrested

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A suspect in a multi-county manhunt was arrested on Wednesday in Micanopy. 

Authorities had been searching for Ruben Gutierrez, who also goes by the alias Ricardo Fuentes, after the body of his girlfriend was discovered on Tuesday night in Suwannee County.   Investigators said the 35-year-old Gutierrez disappeared soon after 32-year-old Delia Cruz was reported missing.

The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office said it received a missing person report for Cruz on Monday.  On Tuesday morning, the Sheriff’s Office got a tip from a family member of Cruz that Gutierrez had confessed to killing his girlfriend and burying her body.

The body of a female who matched the description of Cruz was found in a shallow grave near Gutierrez's residence on Tuesday evening, according to authorities. The body has been sent to Tallahassee for positive identification and to determine the cause of death.

Alachua County sheriff’s deputies tried to catch up with Gutierrez after he was reported to be at a convenience store off of Interstate 75, but he was already gone when they arrived.  He was later spotted in the woods, near I-75 and County Road 234 in Micanopy.

The sheriff’s offices Alachua, Marion, and Suwannee counties, plus the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Corrections searched unsuccessfully for Gutierrez into the evening.

Just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, search team members located a vacant residence in the 700 block of SW 1st Avenue in Micanopy. While checking that house, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Huk” and his human partner found Gutierrez hiding in a bathroom, and he was taken into custody.

Authorities did immediately say what charge Gutierrez may face, if any.  According to investigators, he is a registered sex offender, on probation for a sexual battery he committed in 2004 in Marion County and was released from prison in December 2017, after serving ten years for attempted murder.