Detectives wanted to question Jeffrey K. Manes about his girlfriend's strangulation, but they couldn't find him until Tuesday morning, when Manes walked into a temporary-labor office.
Manes had been there before. An assistant manager recognized him and kept him busy sweeping floors while she called 911.
Detectives took Manes in, questioned him and then charged him with killing 32-year-old Karen A. Vibbert, who was found dead in a camper Sunday morning.
Detectives think the two were arguing when Manes lost his temper and strangled Vibbert.
"He thought she was asleep," said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Greg Tita. "He was scared, and he took off."
Manes, 40, was charged with second-degree murder and possession of a concealed weapon.
Vibbert's body was found in a camper in a trailer park at 2601 50th Ave. N. She was last seen alive Saturday night at the Red Barn Tavern, where witnesses reported hearing her arguing with someone.
Manes could not be found Sunday or Monday. Detectives put out the word that they were looking for him.
About 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, he turned up at Able Body Temporary Services at 5052 Haines Road, which contracts day laborers.
"He came right up to me and asked if there was any work. I said, "Yeah, maybe at 1 o'clock,' " said assistant manager Lisa Hartwell.
Manes then asked if he could do some work around the office.
"He started sweeping and mopping," Hartwell said. "While he did that, I called 911."
Manes was being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.
Manes was released from jail Dec. 27 after being charged with aggravated domestic battery. He also has been on probation for failing to appear in court in a separate domestic battery case.