LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — The cases involve a teen who’s accused of committing crimes across several Central Florida counties.
On Friday morning, Jonny Santiago — most recently accused of killing his father and dumping his body near an Orange County lake — went before a judge in Lake County on unrelated charges.
Santiago, 18, of Deltona, is the same man Lake County sheriff’s investigators say led their deputies on a pursuit Monday before crashing into a Mount Dora synagogue and opening fire on them.
In a Tavares courtroom Friday, a judge ordered Santiago to remain in jail without bond.
The teen told the Lake County judge he hoped to hire a private attorney and speak with his sister.
In the meantime, the court appointed him a public defender.
In Volusia County, murder charges are forthcoming against Jonny Santiago, Chief Mike Chitwood said Thursday night.
Chitwood made the announcement after confirming that the body of Jonny’s father, Juan Santiago, 52, had been located in Orange County.
The younger Santiago has been a suspect in his father’s disappearance since Sunday night.
Sheriff’s detectives said Juan Santiago had not been seen or heard from since that time, after flying from New York to Central Florida.
Family members said Juan had become concerned with the 18-year-old’s behavior and traveled to the Deltona home to check on him.
On Monday, Santiago’s wife alerted law enforcement that while on the phone with her husband, she heard the father and son arguing and then what sounded like gunshots before the line went dead.
After searching Santiago’s home in Deltona, Volusia County sheriff’s detectives issued a notice to be on the lookout for a white Ford F-150 truck linked to Jonny Santiago.
Later that day, Santiago’s truck would be spotted in Seminole, Volusia and Lake counties.
He managed to elude law enforcement until late Monday afternoon, when a sheriff’s helicopter spotted the pickup in Lake County.
The pilot alerted deputies and they followed Santiago to Mount Dora, where he crashed into a synagogue before getting into a shootout with deputies.
Santiago, who was injured in the shootout, was then taken to the hospital before being booked into jail.
See the video footage. Warning: Contains intense footage.
After the shootout, Volusia County deputies continued their search for the missing father.
That search ended on Thursday, when Juan Santiago’s family notified investigators that they found the 52-year-old’s body in a bush next to Lake Avalon in west Orange County.
According to the family, they were able to access GPS data for Santiago’s truck on his wife’s phone.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said his deputies would have discovered all of this much sooner, but they had issues getting the GPS data off the truck.
“A little later on this afternoon, we got our first data dump back from Jonny’s cellphone that put the truck there at 1 o’clock in the morning at that location,” he said, adding that blood was found in the back of the truck after it crashed into a Mount Dora synagogue Monday afternoon.
He said the timeline meant Santiago’s body was in the truck when the teenager first evaded police in DeBary shortly after the shooting.
Although Chitwood had accused the family of not cooperating earlier in the week, he didn’t believe the family withheld information about the app intentionally. He said Santiago’s wife has been emotionally destroyed by the last few days.
“‘I don’t care what you tell me what evidence you want to show me. My son did not kill his father. This never happened,” Chitwood recalled her saying.
He said an autopsy will help determine how many times Santiago had been shot and other information about his death.
Stay with WFTV.com and watch Eyewitness News for updates on this developing story.
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