A Florida man who was reported missing on New Year’s Eve turned up dead in a suspected murder, while his girlfriend, who disappeared at the same time, was found deceased days later.
On Jan. 1, 26-year-old Trodarius Rainey’s body was found in a wooded area of Lake Jesup Park, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said. He and his girlfriend, Tiffany Church, 35, were reported missing on Dec. 31. Rainey's death is now being investigated as a homicide.
Another dead body was found in Sanford Tuesday and on Wednesday authorities confirmed it was that of Church. The investigation into her death is ongoing, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said.
An abandoned Toyota Camry was found in a parking garage in Sanford, Florida on New Year’s Eve, according to a preliminary sheriff’s report obtained by Oxygen.com. The couple was thought to have been in the sedan a night earlier.
“Evidence located within the vehicle indicates the couple’s disappearance is suspicious and they are considered endangered,” Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said last week, prior to the discovery of Rainey’s body.
Authorities didn’t specify exactly what evidence was collected from the scene. However, a firearm was recovered from the Camry, according to a police report. Forensic technicians were also called to examine the deserted car.
It was later revealed that the car was rented from an Enterprise location in a different woman’s name. County authorities were unable to specify the couple’s relationship to the renter, but investigators noted a handicap placard was found in the rear windshield of the vehicle. Oxygen.com is withholding the woman’s name for privacy reasons.
No arrests have been made in the deaths and Rainey's autopsy is also pending, according to the district medical examiner’s office. It’s unclear if either slaying was random or targeted. No possible motives have been released and the case is ongoing.
The Florida couple was previously known to law enforcement. Both Rainey and Church have extensive arrest records.
Rainey was found guilty of resisting arrest in 2014, and again in 2016, court records obtained by Oxygen.com show.
In 2014, Rainey broke into a woman’s home in Sanford and made off with hundreds of dollars worth of cash and electronics, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. DNA evidence linked him to the robbery and he was found guilty on felony burglary and grand theft charges.
He was also convicted of domestic battery in 2013, further court records state, and was arrested for grand theft of a motor vehicle a year earlier, but charges in that case never materialized.
Church has racked up dozens of arrests, ranging from petit theft, marijuana possession, fraud, and giving false identification. In March, she was arrested for allegedly shoplifting hundreds of dollars of fashion accessories from Macy’s, an arrest report obtained by Oxygen.com shows.
At the time of her disappearance, the case was pending. Church’s next court date was scheduled for Jan. 19. She’s pleaded not guilty.
In 2005, Church also clubbed a man with a piece of lumber and shoved arresting officers, according to an arrest report obtained by Oxygen.com. She was convicted on charges of domestic battery and resisting arrest.
It’s unclear if detectives are investigating whether the couple’s criminal history factored into their deaths.
“It’s still a very active investigation,” Bob Kealing, a spokesperson for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office told Oxygen.com. “Until we get some more answers it’s hard to say.
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