Killer’s fingerprint leads to 5 arrests in Osceola shooting, sheriff says

Arrests made in death of Alexis Vargas-Algarin

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez announced the arrests of five people Wednesday months after a man was shot and killed in a violent home invasion near St. Cloud.

Deputies began investigating after Alexis Vargas-Algarin was found dead in the area of 3785 Henry J Ave., across the street from Velma’s Diner, on Oct. 11. Lopez said in a briefing on Wednesday that the man was fatally shot during a robbery carried out by a group of five individuals, at least one of whom knew the victim.

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The sheriff said Belky Chavarria, Carlos Lopez-Bayona, Jose Martinez, Gelson Perez-Garcia and Joshua Valle-Martinez were arrested in Vargas-Algarin’s death and all face murder charges.

“When we arrived, a woman told us that she came home and found her boyfriend (Vargas-Algarin) in a pool of blood beside their home,” Lopez said.

(From left to right): Belky Chavarria, Jose Martinez, Carlos Lopez-Bayona, Gelson Perez-Garcia and Joshua Valle-Martinez were arrested in Vargas-Algarin’s death and all face murder charges, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. (Osceola County Sheriff's Office)

Upon arrival, deputies said they also found a sledgehammer, later determined to have been used to pry open the door of the victim’s mobile home, and another clinching piece of evidence.

“This entire case was solved because of one fingerprint found,” he said. “Our forensic team located a fingerprint on the front passenger door of the victim’s car... We didn’t know it at the time, but the random fingerprint found on the first day of the investigation actually belonged to the killer.”

It was later determined that Chavarria likely orchestrated the plan, Martinez drove the van, Perez-Garcia used a sledgehammer to break down the door and then he, Valle-Martinez and Lopez-Bayona went inside to rob the victim, according to the sheriff.

Lopez-Bayona later confessed to shooting Vargas-Algarin because he believed the victim was “ultimately going to kill him so he had to kill him first,” the sheriff said.

According to Lopez, Chavarria informed deputies of the role each person played in the robbery and said they split the $700 or so they stole among the five of them.

“To the friends, loved ones and family members of the victim, Mr. Alexis Vargas-Algarin, we have some holiday justice,” Lopez said.

Chavarria, Martinez, Perez-Garcia and Valle-Martinez face charges for felony murder and home invasion robbery. Lopez-Bayona faces charges for premediated murder and home invasion robbery. All five suspects are currently being held in Osceola County jail without bond.

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About the Authors:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.