Sheriff: Women dumped near Apopka church were stabbed, shot

Man faces first-degree murder charge

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – An arrest has been made in connection with the deaths of two women who were found dumped near an Apopka church in May, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. 

The deaths of Kristina Upchurch, 34, and Nicole Evans, 37, were ruled as a double homicide early on in the investigation. 

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said Evans suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and multiple stab wounds, and Upchurch was stabbed multiple times.

On Thursday, Mina said 26-year-old Pablo Antonio Tavarez had been arrested in connection with Upchurch's death, and he's expected to be charged in connection with Evans' death as well.

Deputies said that based on signs of decomposition, Evans' body was dumped on Orange Blossom Trail about three weeks before Upchurch's body was placed in the same spot.

While the investigation is still ongoing, Mina said investigators believe the two women were prostitutes and Tavarez hired them.

Forensic evidence led authorities to identify Tavarez as a suspect, officials said.

During a first appearance Friday on first-degree murder charges, attorneys said DNA evidence was found under the victims' nails which led to Tavarez.

One of the victim's drivers license was also found in Tavarez's vehicle, attorneys said.

Tavarez was appointed a public defender and his bail was denied.

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