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Three suspects in custody in connection with 2015 Lehigh Acres murder

Posted at 7:43 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 19:43:20-04

LEHIGH ACRES — The Lee County Sheriff’s Office says a five-year-old cold case has finally been solved.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno announced Friday that three people have been arrested in connection with a 2015 murder in Lehigh Acres.

Five years ago, the Sheriff’s Office says three people broke into a house on Centennial Boulevard. They were hoping to rob 36-year-old Luis Vasquez-Ocasio, but they ended up shooting and killing him. It was a crime without a suspect for years, but now, Sheriff Marceno says three people are behind bars, all of them charged with murder.

“All suspects responsible for this murder have been arrested and brought to justice," said Sheriff Marceno at a press conference Friday.

Maceno said two of the suspects, Tiphanie Sager and Dexter Thomas, were arrested back in May. And on Thursday, deputies brought in the final suspect, Antonio Crews, on charges of 3rd Degree Murder and First Degree Burglary While Armed.

“Just because a case has gone cold, you can’t give up hope. These cases can get solved, and a lot of times they do gat solved, as we saw today," said Trish Routte, the Coordinator for Crime Stoppers.

Routte says, in a cold case, tips can trickle in over time and eventually give detectives what they need to track down suspects.

“We try to remind people, especially on the anniversaries or the birthdays of these cold cases that hey, these cases are still unsolved. The person that took this person’s life is still out there, and it’s never too late to do the right thing," said Routte.

Marceno says he hopes this is a message moving forward to anyone thinking of carrying out a violent crime in Lee County.

“I’ve been crystal clear that this violence will not be tolerated in our county," said Marceno.

Sager has already pleaded guilty to the charge of 3rd degree murder. Meanwhile, Thomas and Crews have their next court appearance on Monday at 8:30 in the morning.