Two North Carolina men visiting South Beach have been arrested and accused of drugging and raping a woman who later died in her hotel room, police say.
The men, Evoire Collier, 21, and Dorian Taylor, 24, are also accused of stealing the woman’s credit cards to spend money on their trip in South Beach. Investigators are trying to determine whether the woman died of an overdose, possibly from a pill the men supplied. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday it is conducting further tests, and no cause of death has been determined.
The arrests come as Miami Beach police and city officials have been grappling with the overwhelming spring break crowds, instituting an 8 p.m. curfew aimed at cracking down on rowdy revelers on the streets. In recent weeks, South Beach has seen brawls, crowd stampedes and police confrontations involving the use of pepper balls.
Miami Beach police have made over 1,000 arrests since February and at least five officers have been hurt on the job, according to the department. Interim City Manager Raul Aguila, on Saturday, called for the curfew to “contain the overwhelming crowd of visitors and the potential for violence, disruption and damage to property” during what has at times been a chaotic spring break period.
The charges Collier and Taylor face are far more serious: burglary with battery, sexual battery, petty theft and the fraudulent use of a credit card. If the drug they gave her is proven to have played a role in her death, the men could potentially face a manslaughter or murder charge.
The victim, a 24-year-old woman visiting from Pennsylvania later identified as Christine Englehardt, was staying at the Albion Hotel, 1650 James Ave.
Both men, who hail from Greensboro, North Carolina, were booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Sunday, records show.
On Monday afternoon, prosecutor Ayana Duncan said the men should be held in jail before trial because they could face even more serious charges depending on the results of the death investigation. “Both are from out of state,” Duncan said. “There is the potential they could otherwise abscond.”
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer agreed — and also expressed alarm about the accusations. “He couldn’t even pick up the phone to call police or 911 after they did whatever it is they did to her,” Glazer said.
A Miami-Dade assistant public defender, during Monday’s hearing, did not address details of the allegations. Collier and Taylor will face an arraignment in about three weeks.
According to a Miami Beach arrest report, this is what happened:
Paramedics and officers were called to the hotel after the woman was discovered “semi nude” and dead in the room’s bed on Thursday. Detectives immediately obtained video surveillance footage of two men entering with the woman, and then leaving less than one hour later.
Collier fit the description of one of the men, and was found Saturday on Ocean Drive at Eighth Street — an area that has been jam-packed with partiers in recent weeks. He was wearing the same pants seen in the video, according to the report.
He confessed to police that he and Taylor met the woman at a local restaurant. Collier claimed that Taylor gave the girl a “green pill” as they walked on Ocean Drive. It was unclear from the arrest report whether she took the pill willingly, or if she was given it surreptitiously.
Collier told police that he believed the drug was Percocet, a powerful pain reliever, a
Miami Beach detective testified during Monday’s bond hearing.
“Obviously, we sent it to the lab,” Miami Beach Detective Luis Alsina told the judge. “We don’t know if it was fentanyl or some other narcotic.”
Collier said “that he went along with [Taylor] as they planned to have sex with the victim,” according to the report.
Walking into the hotel, the detective testified, the woman was staggering enough that Taylor had to hold her up as they walked into the elevator. “The defendant was holding her from behind, holding her by the neck so she could stand,” Alsina said.
At the hotel, Collier claimed, they each had sex with the woman, and at one point, Taylor forced himself on her as she appeared to be unconscious, the report said.
“The fact that the victim was under the influence of alcohol and narcotics, she could not have consented to sex with the defendants,” according to the police report.
When it became clear the woman was unconscious, the men stole cash, credit cards and her phone and left her in the room “without any concern for her welfare or safety.”
The men used the stolen credit cards at “various locations” in Miami Beach, according to the report. Police said Taylor was captured on video surveillance using the woman’s credit card at South Beach Liquors. When he was arrested, police found the woman’s phone and green pills, the report said.