While delivering food to a home in Holiday, an Uber Eats driver was killed and his body dismembered, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office confirmed during a Tuesday press conference.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco would not name the driver in the “gruesome” slaying, but Brittany Dzoba told the Tampa Bay Times that detectives told her it was her stepfather, Randall Cooke, 59. Pasco County court records also identify Cooke as the victim.
The delivery driver did not know the man who killed him, Nocco said.
“This was a horrific crime of passion,” Nocco said. “You always say the word evil, but this is demonic.”
Nocco said the Uber Eats driver dropped off his wife around 2:30 p.m. on April 19 and began to make deliveries. He texted with his wife throughout the day, and a little before 7 p.m., the man told her he was about to make his last delivery and come home.
That delivery was to a house in the 3400 block of Moog Road in Holiday — near the driver’s own home, Nocco said.
At around 7:13 p.m., Randall Cooke’s wife sent another message but got no response. According to court records, the messages to her husband “were shown on her cellphone as not ‘delivered.’”
At that point, Nocco said, the woman called the Sheriff’s Office to report her husband missing.
During the first 48 hours after the man’s disappearance, deputies reached out to Uber Eats to get information on the driver’s last known location, Nocco said, and GPS data showed 3438 Moog Road. Deputies went to the house, and no one answered the door. But they didn’t see anything suspicious, he said, so they left.
Law enforcement officials checked areas around the house in search of the driver. Neighbors told the Times they saw dive teams examining nearby bodies of water.
Nocco said deputies went back to the house on Moog Road on April 21 and spoke to the roommate of Oscar Adrian Solis. The roommate provided deputies with a video from a front door camera, which shows the Uber Eats delivery man walking up to the door with the food order and being pulled inside. At that point, Solis attempted to rob the man, according to the sheriff, but then the video ended.
According to court records, Cooke was seen approaching the front door in the same blue collared shirt and blue jeans his wife described him as wearing that day. His car keys and wedding ring were found inside the house, the documents say.
Nocco said a video recorded the next day showed Solis and another person leaving the house with trash bags and walking around to the side of the house. According to court records, the bags appeared to be heavy because one of the men was seen dragging a bag.
Deputies checked the trash bags and found human remains inside. Court records say the remains were identified as belonging to Randall Cooke by the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office.
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According to the records, some of the remains were found stuffed inside sweatpants that resembled those an individual in the house was seen wearing in a surveillance video.
Deputies also found Randall Cooke’s car located about three-tenths of a mile from the home where authorities believe he was killed, according to court records. The car had been parked in Solis’ driveway, an arrest affidavit states, and was moved after the slaying. When deputies searched the car, they found trash bags in the trunk containing blood-soaked rags and paper towels, what deputies say was the same red delivery bag Cooke had been seen carrying and a timecard from a downtown St. Petersburg strip club where Solis worked with his name on it.
“All it appears is that there was a gentleman who was working, was doing his last delivery of the night,” Nocco said. “And this person killed him for no reason and took him away from his family.”
Before Cooke’s body was found, Dzoba said she came from her home near Orlando to be with her mother, Kathy Cooke, while police continued to investigate.
“That was her soulmate,” Dzoba said of Kathy Cooke’s relationship with her husband. “I looked at him as more of a father than my own father.”
Kathy Cooke had a feeling something awful had happened to her husband, Dzoba said. When the Sheriff’s Office announced it had begun a death investigation in Holiday on Friday night, she thought it must have been her husband.
Over the weekend, Dzoba said, deputies came to their home and said Cooke’s body had been identified. Deputies came inside and got Cooke’s toothbrush to do DNA testing, which confirmed the medical examiner’s initial finding.
“Why him,” Dzoba said.
She said her mother is getting another deadbolt on her door after this, fearful after what happened to her husband.
Cooke’s family has a GoFundMe page asking for help with funeral expenses.
Oscar Adrian Solis, 30, was detained by deputies Friday before later being arrested, the sheriff’s office announced Monday night. He faces a charge of murder while engaged in a robbery, according to Pasco jail records.
Nocco said Solis is affiliated with the gang MS-13.
Solis moved to Pasco County in January after he was released from state prison in Indiana on a battery conviction. Florida state law required him to register as a convicted felon when he arrived, but court documents state Solis did not.
He initially was arrested Friday on charges of failing to register as a convicted felon and a parole violation.
Solis is being held in a Pasco County jail without bond, according to jail records.
At the Tuesday press conference, Nocco said the Sheriff’s Office was seeking two individuals who were seen at the house about an hour before the killing occurred. He said the two were not in trouble.
By Tuesday evening, the agency tweeted it had located the individuals and conducted interviews with them. No other details were released by Tuesday night.
This is a breaking news story. Check back to tampabay.com for updates.