TAMPA— A homeless man arrested Friday after police received a complaint he was sleeping in an abandoned home has now been identified as a suspect in the unsolved murder of an Orlando grandmother.
Bobby Lee Story, 52, took off running when Tampa police officers pulled up to the abandoned home in the 6500 block of North 22nd Street where he had been sleeping, records show. The responding officers caught up to Story after a brief foot chase, a spokeswoman said.
The Tampa man was arrested on two outstanding warrants. He was accused of stabbing a man in the face during an argument at an Orlando gas station. He is also accused of stabbing a 48-year-old man in Tampa’s Kain Cares Apartment Complex the night before he was spotted squatting in northeast Tampa.
Story now faces additional charges of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and one count of resisting an officer without violence. He remained in the Hillsborough County jail Monday, bail set at $118,000.
He has not been charged in the Aug. 28 death of his 41-year-old girlfriend in Pine Hills, Fla. But the Orange County Sheriff’s Office called him the primary suspect in the case and had offered a reward for tips on his whereabouts.
A spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said deputies believed Story fled the Orlando area shortly after killing his girlfriend, Denise Hayls, in a home on Pipes O the Glen Way, leaving behind Hayls two young grandchildren. A woman later spotted the toddlers, ages 2 and 3, wandering through the neighborhood by themselves and called 911, the agency said.
When she asked where they lived, the grandchildren led the woman to the house at 3422 Pipes O the Glen Way, the sheriff’s office said. Inside, their grandmother’s body had been left by the front door.
Story had a history of domestic violence against Hayls, the sheriff’s office said. Her grandchildren were taken into custody by the Florida Department of Children and Families child protective service.
Contact Anastasia Dawson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.