Three arrested for death of Lee County man Friday

Posted at 2:29 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 07:44:40-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Three suspects have been arrested in connection to the case of a missing Lee County man who's body was found behind a dumpster in a church parking lot in Manatee County.

58-year-old Ted Lee was last seen on Thursday at his home on Gray Twig Lane. His body was found the next day at a church along State Road 70 in Lakewood Ranch.

Deputies believe Lee was killed in Lee County and later dumped in Manatee County. 

Since then Lee County deputies had been looking for three people who they believe may be involved in this case: 18-year-old Jonathan Ruffini, 23-year-old Tyson Hunter, and 14-year-old Lavaya May.

Monday, all three suspects were arrested by multiple agencies in Kansas.

Ruffini and Hunter were charged with second degree murder, grand theft of automobile, and fraudulent use of a credit card. 

May was charged with accessory after the fact of murder, grand theft of automobile, and fraudulent use of a credit card. 

Neighbors placed a sign reading "Rest in peace. You will not be forgotten" outside of Ted Lee's Buckingham home as detectives were clearing the crime scene on Monday.

"He was such a good man. Everybody loved him in this neighborhood," Grant Davis said.

Davis is the step grandfather of the youngest suspect, 14-year-old Lavaya May. He said Lee used to let May live with him off and on since she was eight-years-old.

"It cost him his life," Davis said.

He said May is dating one of the other guys arrested in this murder, and that he got May mixed up in drugs.

"I'm the one who called 911 and seen the two guys drag 'whatever,' a body or whatever, I'm not sure yet," Davis said.

May is charged with accessory after the fact, but even Davis said she should be punished.  "She's the one that made the choice. She should be held responsible. If I was a judge, they'd be in real trouble," Davis said.

Patricia Markham lived next-door to Lee for more than a decade.  "He was like a brother to me," she said.

She said Lee was trying to help May get by, and the last time she saw them together was two weeks before Lee died.  "She was just getting out of the car with him," Markham said.

May's boyfriend, Tyson, is charged with murder in this case, but back when he was 13-years-old, he was charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman.

"I want to be in the court to stand up and point right on his forehead and say, 'You was there at the murder scene, pal. I seen ya,'" Davis said.

Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg went to the last known address for Tyson. A woman living there said he rented a room from her, but hadn't been there for the last six months. She did say other relatives lived at the home.

If you know anything about this case, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.