A Florida man who police describe as a prostitute has been charged with the murder of a 63-year-old restaurant manager who went missing earlier this month.
Michael Harris Jr., 20, was arrested on a murder charge on Saturday in the death of Bobby Scott, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Scott was last seen leaving his home around 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 17. Law enforcement initially suspected that Scott, whose husband reported him missing, may have traveled to the Orlando area.
Two days after he vanished, authorities found Scott’s vehicle in Deland, Florida. Harris, who was allegedly in possession of the vehicle, told law enforcement he was borrowing it from Scott.
“Harris added that he had not had contact with Scott since then,” deputies stated, according to WKMG-TV. “Detectives then made contact with Scott’s husband, who said Scott never loaned his vehicle to anyone.”
Scott’s body eventually turned up in a wooded area of Daytona Beach. He had died from blunt-force trauma, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said, according to Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Evidence discovered in the vehicle ultimately implicated Harris in Scott’s suspected killing, law enforcement said. Investigators believe Harris beat Scott to death with a piece of wood and a beer bottle, the paper reported Chitwood said.
“After Scott and Harris met up, Scott was never heard from again,” investigators added.
Scott was one of the general managers of popular Daytona Beach restaurant Caribbean Jack’s, according to the newspaper. He met Harris on a dating app, according to authorities, who have described the young man as an internet predator. Investigators suspect Scott was killed after meeting Harris for sex.
"Michael Harris has a history of posing as a gay prostitute and blackmailing and robbing the victims, and in this case, murdering the victim," Chitwood said.
Scott was in an open relationship with his spouse, who he said he’d been with since 2013, detectives said. He’d sent one final text to his husband shortly before he died.
“May stop at a guy's house too," Scott wrote in the text to his husband at 12:07 p.m. on Jan. 17, detectives said, according to the News-Journal.
Harris was charged with second-degree murder with a deadly weapon. He was taken into custody without incident. Chitwood said that other charges, including carjacking, will be forthcoming after the murder investigation concludes.
Authorities declined to release further information on the ongoing investigation.
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