LAKE CITY (FOX 13) - The body of a Suwannee County woman was found Tuesday night and the sheriff's office has named her boyfriend, who disappeared soon after she was reported missing, as a suspect.
Now there's a multi-county manhunt underway to track him down.
The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office says it got a missing person report for 32-year-old Delia Cruz Monday. Deputies say her boyfriend, Ruben Gutierrez said she left his place Sunday evening and he hadn’t seen her since.
On Tuesday morning, the sheriff’s office got a tip from a family member of Cruz that Gutierrez, who sometimes goes by Ricardo Fuentes, had confessed to killing his girlfriend and burying her body.
The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office says the body of a female who matches the description of Delia Cruz was found in a shallow grave near Gutierrez's residence Tuesday evening. The body will be sent to Tallahassee for positive identification and to determine the cause of death.
Gutierrez, meanwhile, seems to have left town. Alachua County sheriff’s deputies tried to catch up with him after he was reported to be at a convenience store off 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 Alachua, Marion, and Suwannee County sheriff’s offices, plus the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Corrections are searching for Ruben on the ground and with air units.
He is 35 years old, 5'11", 190 pounds, with black hair, and brown eyes, last seen wearing a dark shirt, jean shorts, and a dark baseball hat, officials say.
The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office says Gutierrez is a registered sex offender who is on probation for a sexual battery he committed in 2004 in Marion County. They say he was released from prison in December 2017 after serving 10 years for attempted murder.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Gutierrez is warned to not approach him, but call 911 right away.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Mobile Crime Lab was processing Delia’s residence for any potential evidence.