The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Thursday evening said an arrest was made in the murder of Zuheily Rosado, the Mobil station store clerk, the night of Feb. 21 in Palm Coast.
The sheriff’s office is not releasing the identity of the suspect or saying who made the arrest. The office made the announcement in a brief email to the press at 8 p.m. Thursday, saying only that it was scheduling a news conference for 11 a.m. Friday, when it would release more details.
“We are currently in the process of arranging for a member(s) of the immediate family to attend the press conference,” the email said. Sheriff Jim Manfre did not return a call Thursday evening.
The arrest was already known in the ranks of the sheriff’s office by mid-afternoon. But the afternoon had been devoted to a high-profile synthetic-pot bust and a gathering of several local and regional law enforcement agencies. The Flagler County jail lists only three bookings for the day through this evening, suggesting that the arrest was not necessarily made by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, with a strong possibility that it was made elsewhere. (One of the bookings at the jail, that of Ronald Benton just after 3 p.m., is on an out-of-county warrant.)
“The family has few details,” John Phillips, the family’s attorney, wrote in an email late Thursday night. “Her husband provided me a photo of a white male that was provided to them. I am not sure if it is appropriate to release, as the investigators have been very close to the vest with information. The sheriff’s office has not released the identity of the suspect or saying who made the arrest. We have had a number of reports that suspicious activity was going on leading up the the killing.”
Sheriff’s Office detectives had traveled to Miami and Jacksonville, among other places, as part of the investigation, but had feared that leads had grown cold. As recently as Monday, two retired investigators who volunteer for the sheriff’s office were appearing before Palm Coast’s Hispanic American Club to ask for help with leads, according to the News-Journal’s Julie Murphy.
“The reason we are here is that we desperately need information,” one of the volunteer was quoted as saying. “Someone came in and executed her; they did this exclusively to execute her.”
Rosado, 32 at the time of the killing, was working the night shift at the Mobil Mart on State Road 100, near I-95, when a man who had covered his face briskly walked in, turned toward the counter, behind which Rosado was standing, and shot her execution-style, then walked out. Rosado had six children.
Investigators subsequently learned that about a week earlier, Rosado had had an argument with a man at the gas station, and the man threatened to return to kill her.
Regardless of where the arrest originated or which agency made it, it is a coup for the sheriff’s office and Manfre’s administration, which was dealing with two unsolved murders just seven weeks after Manfre took office.