OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. (WSVN) — Authorities have discovered human remains in Okeechobee County, days after a Lyft driver from South Florida went missing, and now a family is waiting for autopsy results that may or may not confirm this is their missing loved one.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said one of their investigations found the remains of an adult male in a wooded part of a residential area, Saturday morning.
“You hate it to happen here, you know? This road is just an old-timey road,” said area resident Charles Norrison.
“There was some intelligence that was gathered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that led them to this location and where we had located a deceased white male in the area,” said Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jack Nash.
A dozen homes are located on the other side of the wooded area.
“That’s not a good feeling for your neighborhood, especially a little neighborhood like this, you know?” said Norrison. “Everybody’s just country people here.”
The location where the remains were found is close to where, investigators said, missing Lyft driver Gary Levin dropped off a passenger on Monday.
Authorities said this was the last place where the 74-year-old Palm Beach Gardens resident was known to be.
Norrison worries the human remains could be connected to that case.
“We’ve been following it, you know, and they haven’t identified him, but I’ve kind of got an idea that’s probably who it is, unfortunately,” he said, “but it’s unfortunately been laying there for a week, almost. That’s terrible.”
Levin’s daughter, Lindsay DiBetta, said her father’s phone has been off since 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
DiBetta said there’s no way he would do rideshare rides spanning a minimum of 209 miles and then ditch his Monday night plans with his girlfriend without calling her.
“They had dinner plans on Monday night, and he never came home. He would let her know, like, ‘Hey, I’m driving from Palm Beach Gardens to Miami, then to Okeechobee,’” she said. “It doesn’t add up at all.”
Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger was involved in a high-speed chase and crash on Thursday in North Carolina.
The man behind the wheel, Matthew Scott Flores, was arrested and faces murder charges in the death of a man in Southwest Florida, in January.
On Sunday, DiBetta posted a message to Facebook that reads, “At this moment, we ask for privacy as we process the latest developments in my father’s case. Thank you for all the love and support.”
Flores is being held on a $2 million cash bond in North Carolina in connection to the murder in Hardee County, Florida.
Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.