Two bodies that turned up on a Fort Lauderdale beach could be connected to a high-speed police chase, authorities said.
The two bodies, which law enforcement haven’t yet identified, turned up behind a luxury condo on Tuesday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The two apparent murder victims appeared to be two men in their 40s, WFOR-TV reported. One of the men may have been homeless, the Miami television station said.
“Upon arrival we were able to determine that it appeared they had been stabbed. Both males were pronounced dead on the scene,” Det. Ali Adamson told the Sun Sentinel.
Investigators are actively looking into whether the discovery is linked to a dramatic high-speed chase that unfolded on I-95 the same day.
A white Jeep allegedly hit a Porsche and a golf cart before leading law enforcement on a chase that spanned nearly 20 miles, the Sun Sentinel reported. The pursuit began about a mile south of where the two bodies were found, the newspaper reported.
The chase unfolded after the owner of a vacant lot witnessed the Jeep lingering on his property. Michael Jones, the property owner, said he approached the vehicle, but was violently confronted by the SUV’s driver.
“He got up, he came over and he shoved me to the ground, started screaming at me, told me he was going to kill me,” Michael Jones recalled. “I said, ‘You’re right, you’re right.’ I saw crazy in his eyes. … I got back in my car.”
Jones said he tried to flee the scene but the Jeep’s driver abruptly accelerated into his own vehicle.
“I got back in the car at that point to try and put it in gear to get the hell out of here, there was no time,” Jones added. “He floored it, put it in reverse, floored it and slammed right into my Porsche.”
Sonia Coble, another local resident, said her doorbell camera footage also captured the Jeep's suspected driver a day earlier. She said the loitering man appeared suspicious. The next morning, she heard the confrontation between the lot owner and driver.
“And then I heard, ‘He’s getting away,’” Coble told the Sun Sentinel.
The driver, later identified by police as 64-year-old Daniel Santo Dovi, was apprehended on the freeway by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who executed a PIT maneuver on the Jeep, clipping its rear, causing the vehicle to spin around and roll on its side, the newspaper reported.
Dovi was slapped with a flurry of charges, including two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intention to kill, two counts of criminal mischief, battery, and evading law enforcement, according to online jail records.
He’s considered a “person of interest,” in the double murder, Fort Lauderdale police said. Investigators allegedly seized “multiple edged weapons” from Dovi, as well as “recently washed clothes.”
The discoveries added “to detectives’ suspicion that he may be involved in the double homicide,” Adamson said in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
“The double homicide occurred in a secluded area and there have been no similar incidents or patterns. We do not believe there is a threat to public safety at this time. While Mr. Dovi is a person of interest, we have to keep in mind that he may not be our suspect in the double homicide.”
The area where the bodies were found by authorities receives a significant amount of foot traffic and is a popular area for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, local media reported.
“I was caught by surprise,” neighborhood resident Jose Louis Sierra Jr. told the Sun Sentinel when he learned a murder investigation was unfolding near his home.
“Just to think there are two bodies there — that’s terrible, disturbing,” Steven Dworkin told WFOR-TV.
There were no new updates in the case as of Thursday afternoon. Police said the identities of the victims would likely be released in the coming days.
“I am hoping to have the names of the victims soon, we are just still sending next of kin notifications,” Adamson told Oxygen.com.
Dovi is being held on a $25,000 bond, jail records show.
Authorities have urged anyone who may have information related to the two incidents to contact the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5344.
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