Nationwide search for man wanted in connection with Cocoa motel homicide

COCOA, Fla. — Investigators are searching for a man in his 20s, wanted in connection with a homicide at a Cocoa motel.

Cocoa police said they received a 911 call Wednesday morning, reporting a body inside a room at the Dixie Motel on Forrest Avenue.

The victim was identified as Terry Scott Hilliard, 65, of Ocala, police said.

Police said Hilliard was in Brevard County to watch SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch on Tuesday but he never returned home.

When he wasn’t checked out of the hotel by 11 a.m. Wednesday, a worker knocked on the door and then discovered his body.

Investigators said Hilliard arrived at the motel Tuesday at about 5 p.m. with a young man.

The man was described as Caucasian, with dark hair, a short goatee, and average build. He was wearing a black, short-sleeved button-down shirt, loose-fitting blue jeans and black shoes.

Detectives found Hillard's vehicle, a black Chevrolet Cruze, abandoned near the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and U.S. Highway 27/North Okeechobee Road in Hialeah.

Statewide and national bulletins have been issued and detectives are asking people across the country, especially in the Southeastern region to keep an eye out for the accused killer.

"The biggest thing right now is we don't know who this person is. We need to know who this person is. We want to be able to find this person. We don't know what he's capable of," Cocoa Police Department Chief Mike Cantaloupe said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Central Florida Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS. Callers will remain anonymous and can be eligible for cash rewards of up to $5,000.