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Miami Beach police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found barricaded in a hotel room she reportedly shared with her now-missing boyfriend.
Police found the body of Marelbi Ruiz Lara, 47, inside a room at the Sherry Frontenac Hotel on Collins Avenue in Miami beach on Tuesday evening, after a coworker called for a welfare check, Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez and Lara's son, Nelson Tabares, told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.
Lara was last seen by a coworker on Saturday, according to Rodriguez. Tabares told Miami NBC affiliate WTVJ that hotel workers had to force the door of her 10th-floor room open because a mattress had been propped up against it to hold it shut.
"They didn't find belongings of the two people living there," he told the station.
Miami Telemundo affiliate WSCV reported that one resident said there had been a Do Not Disturb sign on the door for several days leading up to the discovery of the body.
“This death is being investigated as a homicide, and detectives are actively following several leads,” Rodriguez told the Miami Herald. They did not confirm Lara's identity.
WPLG reported that her body was removed from the hotel on Wednesday morning by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office in order to begin determining her cause of death.
Lara, a native of Colombia, worked at a different hotel in the area but was staying at the Frontenac — which is used all but exclusively by airline crews, according to WPLG — with her boyfriend, who was contracted to do construction work at the hotel, according to WSCV.
Tabares told WTVJ and WSCV that he believes his mother's boyfriend died by suicide in front of police on Tuesday along I-75 in Sarasota, which matches the description of an incident with an unidentified man that day. Neither the local police nor Florida state police have confirmed the two incidents are related.
Detectives ask that anyone with information about the case call Miami Beach Police at 305-673-7900 or Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
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