KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is asking the public to help identify a possible suspect in the 1995 murder of a Kissimmee woman.
On May 24, 1995, the remains of then 36-year-old Maria Telles-Gonzalez were found in a drainage ditch on the side of a road in Yemassee, South Carolina.
Beaufort County deputies began their investigation and the woman’s death was ruled a homicide.
The probable cause of death was listed as asphyxiation due to strangulation. However, Telles-Gonzalez’ remains would go unidentified for nearly 30 more years.
In October of 2022, advancements in DNA technology and genealogy research led investigators to a possible son of the victim. After more than 27 years, she was identified as Maria Telles-Gonzales, a wife and mother of three who had lived in Kissimmee.
Investigators interviewed Telles-Gonzalez’ family members who said she was last seen at her home on Merrimack Drive the day after she returned from a trip to Puerto Rico in May of 1995.
According to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Investigator Bob Bromage, Telles-Gonzalez returned with her suitcase and spent the night in the family home.
The next morning, Bromage says Telles-Gonzales left the home after her three children went to school and never returned.
“They returned from school…she was gone, and the suitcase,” Bromage said. “Her vehicle was still there. It’s clear that she was not murdered in Beaufort County, and it probably occurred in Florida.”
Detectives also say Telles-Gonzalez was home alone with her husband when the children went to school.
Telles-Gonzalez was never reported missing. During an update on the case in December of 2022, investigators asked for help identifying a man and woman who knew her at the time.
The female friend pointed detectives to a possible boyfriend identified only as “Carlos.”
Now, FDLE and Beaufort County detectives are asking the public to help them learn Carlos’ last name. He’s believed to have lived in the Orlando area back in 1995.
Carlos is Hispanic and believed to be between 5-feet 8 and 5-feet 10 inches tall. He would have been in his early to mid-30s in 1995 and was known to speak Spanish as well as “very good” English.
Investigators believe Carlos had been seeing Maria for several months.
“Finding Carlos is of critical importance to furthering the investigation at this point,” Bromage said. “Carlos may have information on the circumstances of her disappearance and her death.”
In an effort to learn more about the man, investigators shared photographs of Carlos in 1995 as well as age-progressed images of what he might look like today.
Anyone with information about the murder of Maria Telles-Gonzalez or the identification of “Carlos” and where to find him is asked to call Bromage directly at 843-816-8013 or send an email to email@example.com.
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