Monday, July 16, 2018
Public safety

Sheriff's Office: Pair killed St. Petersburg business owner, then fled south

ST. PETERSBURG — A 24-year-old woman and 34-year-old man killed the woman's employer then fled to South Florida, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives arrested Jaritza M. Diaz and Christopher Lee Robertson II, both of St. Petersburg, on first-degree murder charges after Miami-Dade Police Department officers found them at a hotel in Homestead, south of Miami.

They are accused of killing Christopher Dykes, 54, owner of Fabmaster D Machinery. The Sheriff's Office was called Aug. 28 to the business at 10597 Oak St. NE after an employee couldn't get inside and couldn't find Dykes, who lived on site.

Deputies said they forced their way into the business and found Dykes dead inside.

In the investigation, detectives learned Diaz worked for Dykes for a short time and identified her and Robertson as suspects.

Miami-Dade police found them at the Serena Inn at 26480 S Dixie Highway. Pinellas deputies went to the hotel on Saturday and helped Miami-Dade police arrest Diaz on a warrant for grand theft auto. They also arrested Robertson for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer for an incident that took place during Diaz's arrest.

Miami-Dade police searched the hotel room and found "forensic evidence connecting Diaz and Robertson to Dykes' murder," the Sheriff's Office said. Pinellas detectives obtained first-degree murder warrants for both of them on Monday.

The pair is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correction Center in Miami-Dade County. They will be brought back to Pinellas County to stand trial.

Times staff

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