VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Three people have been arrested in the death of a 60-year-old Army veteran who Volusia County deputies said was shot by a stranded driver whom he was trying to help.
Benjamin Jaquaric Antonio Bascom, 24, Kelsey Terrance McFoley, 28 and Melissa Rios Roque, 21, were arrested this week.
Deputies also announced that Carlos Cruz-Echevarria’s death was a “planned execution” in an effort to prevent him from testifying in a road rage case.
Detectives later learned he had brought his truck out to help another driver get his vehicle out of the ditch.
Instead, Cruz Echevarria was shot to death and his truck was stolen, deputies said.
The truck in the ditch had been reported stolen out of Orange County.
Cruz Echevarria was an Army veteran and was shot on Veteran's Day last year. He was also a family member of a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office civilian employee
Today, we announced the arrests of 3 murderers responsible for the cold-blooded execution of Carlos Cruz-Echevarria in Deltona in November 2017. These are the handcuffs used on the man who was hired to kill him. Our hearts are with Carlos' family today. https://t.co/hqevkmMJgs pic.twitter.com/aCDlaTVLoj— Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) September 6, 2018
Deputies said it initially appeared Cruz-Echevarria was shot and killed for his truck after he attempted to help move the disabled vehicle out of the grass. Detectives later discovered there was more to the story.
Phone record data from the area of the shooting and the area where the truck was found in Apopka led detectives to several persons of interest, including Bascom, whose cell number was in Deltona and Apopka during the timeframe of the incidents, deputies said.
DNA evidence linked Bascom to the disabled vehicle. Detectives said his phone records provided detectives with a good investigative lead which made it clear that he was the one who pulled the trigger.
The phone records also showed that on the day of the homicide, Bascom and McFoley were talking on the phone with each other. Specifically, McFoley was giving Bascom instructions on how to carry out the murder, deputies said.
WATCH: Deputies describe the investigation
Detectives then obtained phone records for McFoley which implicated his girlfriend, Rios-Roque, when the two of them spoke about the alleged plot.
Detectives believe what motivated McFoley to have Cruz-Echevarria killed was a road rage incident that happened about six months earlier, on May 2, 2017. That afternoon, while stopped at a red light at a Deltona intersection, Cruz-Echevarria was in his vehicle behind McFoley, who didn’t proceed through the intersection when the light turned green, according to detectives.
Cruz-Echevarria honked and passed McFoley, who later pulled up next to him at another intersection, asked if he had a problem, pulled a gun out of his glove box and pointed it at him, deputies said. Cruz-Echevarria was subsequently able to get McFoley’s tag number and reported the incident to deputies.
McFoley, who has an extensive criminal history that includes 29 felony charges, was arrested about a month later.
Bascom was arrested Wednesday by Orlando police at Orlando International Airport, where he had a one-way ticket to Texas. McFoley and Rios-Roque were arrested Tuesday.
McFoley was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Service Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force while working for a moving company in Orlando. Rios-Roque was arrested by VCSO detectives on Interstate 4 in Volusia County.
“I can’t think of a more heinous, sickening act than what happened to Carlos,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “This tragedy cost our community a good man who was loved by his family and respected by his neighbors. I know that because I have heard about the kind of man he was. I also know what kind of man took him from his family: A pathetic coward who deserves to spend the rest of his life in a cage. My heart is with Carlos' family and friends and everyone in the VCSO family who played a role in bringing these murderers to justice.”
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