On August 11th, 2019, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about the remains of a man found in a remote section of a Highway 464 in the southeastern part of the county. LCSO detectives arrived on scene and were able to quickly identify the victim. Evidence located at this scene confirmed the life of Jafet Padin Rodriguez (33) of Ocala was violently taken.
This began the long complicated investigation to identify and arrest the individual(s) responsible.
Detectives from the LCSO immediately joined forces with the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fire Marshal’s Office.
The car belonging to Rodriguez was discovered burned in Marion County. Detectives invested hundreds of hours in the beginning stages of this investigation and these interviews led to several tangible leads. Detectives then sought investigative assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) due to language barriers and jurisdictional boundaries.
Detectives learned through multiple interviews a prevailing theory of why Rodriguez was murdered. Detectives were able to track the movements of Rodriguez from a local night club in Ocala to a private residence in Ocala on the night he was killed. Detectives learned that the victim was attacked over a misunderstanding related to text messages related to a love triangle. During the course of their investigation Detectives learned that the victim did not send the text messages and was not involved in the love triangle.
Based off of these investigative leads, Detectives were able to identify the home where the victim was attacked, which ultimately led to the identification of three men who violently attacked and killed Rodriguez.
This cooperative investigation with the FDLE uncovered evidence tying Christian Cardona Cirilo, 27 of Ocala, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz, 38 of Ocala and Jesse Torres, 32 of Ocala, to this murder.
LCSO Detective Mike McNeil secured warrants for the arrest of these three men for the crime of Premeditated First Degree Murder on July 13, 2020.
LCSO Detectives, along with FDLE agents, the United States Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocala Police Department executed all three arrest warrants yesterday and were able to successfully conclude this case. All three men were booked into the Marion County Jail where they are being held with NO BOND.
“Murder cases where the victim has no ties to Levy County are some of the most difficult to solve,” said LCSO Sheriff Robert B. McCallum, Jr. “I am extremely proud of the hard work these dedicated detectives put into this case. Their ability to work with other agencies to solve this crime and offer closure to this family is unrivaled.”
Cirilo, Ortiz, and Torres will be transferred to the Levy County Detention facility where they will be held awaiting trial.