LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies with the Lake County Sheriffs Office are investigating a double homicide at the intersection of County Road 437 and County Road 44A in Eustis.
Deputies said around 3:20 a.m. Saturday a deputy pulled behind what he thought was a disabled vehicle on the side of County Road 437.
When deputies walked up to the full-size pickup truck, they discovered two Hispanic males in the bed of the truck deceased.
The victims have been identified as 26-year-old Jesus Pantoja and 13-year-old Christopher Gutierrez, both of Apopka.
Deputies said Pantoia was the uncle of Gutierrez and a father of two.
“We have no idea who would ever do anything like this or why?,” questioned family friend Elba Rodriquez.
Rodriquez said her husband was best friends with Pantoja and they placed soccer together. She said he had no enemies.
“His children that he left behind. All he wanted to do was be able to provide for them, to give them a better life,” said Rodriquez.
She said the whole situation is just sad.
“It just sucks to know that people can be so cruel nowadays, and for no reason,” said Rodriquez. “I just wish it would have never happened at all.”
“It was unusual. A lot of times we have what’s called DAVs, disabled vehicles, out on the road so he thought that was what he walking up to,” Sgt. Fred Jones said.
Investigators are working to piece together what happened by checking nearby homes for surveillance video.
“How did this vehicle get here? is this something that happened here or what it driven here from another location? so those are all things that we try to figure out, who are these victims? and I think one of the most important question is who is the suspect and where is the suspect,” Jones said.
Investigators ruled the deaths a homicide Saturday morning.
“We don’t expect to come upon something like this. especially not in a rural area like that on the side of the road in plain sight so to speak, so it was shocking,” Jones said.
Investigators said it is still early in the investigation and more updates will be released when available.