What began as an online hookup with the appearance of a budding friendship between two brothers and another man ended with one of the men’s murder, the two brothers then boasting about it online and taking an unexplained trip through Flagler County. Here, they had a brief encounter with local law enforcement before sheriff’s deputies had been made aware of their status as wanted men.
Angel and Jojo Lobato, the two brothers involved in the traffic stop last week in Flagler County, were arrested in Polk County on Nov. 10 on first degree murder, grand theft and other charges connected to the stabbing death of 21-year-old Danne Frazier of Winter Haven.
It is still not clear why they had decided to make the 140-mile trip to Flagler shortly after the murder.
The Lobato brothers were pulled over on U.S. 1 by County Road 325 on Nov. 6 after the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office received a missing-person report. The Chevy Impala the Lobato brothers were driving triggered a license plate reader alert, connecting the car to the missing person–Frazier, who had gone missing after clocking out at Publix the morning of Nov. 4 minutes after 2 a.m. He worked in the store’s warehouse.
When a Flagler deputy pulled the car over, Jojo Lobato, 19, fled and was not recovered. His brother stayed in the car. But since deputies had no probable cause to hold him, he was given a ride to a gas station in Ormond Beach and released. The vehicle, however, was impounded for evidence.
Four days later, Frazier’s body was located in an isolated field near Lake Wales “amongst large vegetation and was partially covered by sticks and grass which appeared to have been placed on the victim’s body,” according to a police report. The body was “in advanced stages of decomposition.” It was identified by a tattoo.
“The overwhelming period of time when you have a murder,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “there is a relationship that you either, they were ex-friends, they were doing dope together, they failed to pay off their bills, there’s some kind of conflict here. Danne had no conflict. He was just trying to be a friend, and he was murdered.”
Judd said the brothers confessed to having planned the murder for three weeks. They had met Frazier online. “They had some common friends, and so it was set up that Jojo was gonna meet our victim to have sex,” Judd said. “The victim picked him up in downtown Central Park in Winter Haven, in the city, and he drove him around, to Lake Howard, which is not far away. Well, who’s hanging out, in the bushes, hidden? Angel, the brother, is. So Angel is hiding by a parking lot on lake Howard with a baseball bat. Jojo has a knife. They’ve schemed this plan out–OK, ‘once you get him here, then you pretend to distract him, and stab him.’ Then a fight ensued, and our victim Danne was fighting for his life. And in the process of fighting, and in the process of Jojo now, who stabbed him and the knife broke, the next thing you know, they finally get the door open, Angel has knocked the window out of the door, because the door is locked. Angel starts hitting him in the head with a baseball bat.” (The body showed evidence of a large skull fracture, according to the arrest reports.)
“Neither one of them had any previous criminal record, and that was a shock to us as well. How do you get so mean and so evil and have so much hatred,” Judd said. “And they were gleeful, they were very, you know, excited. It was euphoric. The detective said it was unbelievable, their attitude during the interview. It wasn’t, oh no, I’m caught, this is bad, I shouldn’t have done it, no remorse. They were bragging about it. Bragging. Well, we’re bragging about putting them in jail, too.”
Before the case unraveled and as the Lakeland Police Department was conducting the missing-person investigation, it detected the use of Frazier’s debit card at two gas stations. Both transactions were declined since an incorrect pin was provided. Video surveillance showed Frazier’s car at the two stations during the fraudulent use of his card. Video also showed three individuals getting out of the car. They were later identified as the Lobato brothers and Scott Engle, 19, of Bartow.
Engle would later tell detectives that he’d not been with the two brothers at the time of the alleged murder, but had driven around with them the following day as they attempted to use Frazier’s debit card. Engle realized something bad had happened when he detected blood on the vehicle as he used a squeegee to clean the windshield. He faces charges of accessory after the fact and grand theft, among other charges, though his charges are likely to be pleaded down in exchange for cooperation with prosecutors as they pursue the case against the Lobato brothers.
Judd said “a team working at a property near Lake Wales” made the initial discovery of the body. The “team” appeared to be land surveyors. “We would still not know where Danne was today had it not been for those folks surveying that property,” he said.
Law enforcement located the Lobato brothers at an Advanced Auto Parts in Lake Wales, driving another vehicle they had “borrowed,” Judd said. It’s not clear how they reconnected in Flagler, or how–or why–they made their way back to Polk County. But after the murder, Jojo shaved his dreadlocks and posted a portrait of himself on social media with the words Judd read out: “M1 on me, we’re gonna do the race till there ain’t no wheels, like–whatever this group is, TK? This rap group? For real, for real.’”
“They bragged about it, they talked about how they have street cred, they have their stripes, they’d be respected on the streets because they’ve done this murder,” the sheriff said. “What they did was they murdered a really nice young man.” He added: “I can tell you Helen Keller could have seen all the evidence they left at the scene,” though he’d also noted that it had essentially been a matter of luck that the surveyors had found the body in what he described as an isolated area few people in Polk County would have heard of.
Both brothers are charged with first-degree murder. “There’s still work to do on the case,” Judd said. “We’re having to coordinate between Lakeland Police Department, Flagler Sheriff’s Office, we’re doing crime scene work and there are still a lot of questions that we’ve got to close up on this case, but as far as having a great case, it’s unbelievable.”