First homicide of the year in Vero Beach

Man found dead in motel room

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Vero Beach Police are investigating the city's first homicide of the year.

Police say the body of 27-year-old Daniel. C. Stevens was found in a room at Vero's Motel off of US 1, by a cleaning lady, around 10:30 Thursday morning.

Police say Stevens had been living at the hotel for nearly three months. His room was found in disarray. Police are not sure how long he had been deceased in the room.

"It's a safe town, there's just some things you can't prevent," said Vero Beach Police Officer John Morrison.

Police say the motel does not have a lobby with security or security cameras on the premises so it is hard to know who is coming and going.

They also say the location right along the highway makes it easy for anyone to walk right up to the property.

The location is what attracted Mark Miller's family to open Discount Carpet and Tile to open next door to the motel.

In more than 20 years of business, Miller says they've never had serious crime in the area.

"About 15 years ago, I got broken into. Somebody stole a couple of petty things," Miller said.

The scene Thursday morning was unexpected. "I realized it was a little more than a drug bust. It was something more serious," Miller said.

For now, Miller says he's not worried about the homicide affecting business, or his customers. "I'm sure they realize it's safe, that something just happened. Something awful that happened."

Vero Beach police are still trying to follow leads to develop a suspect description.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Vero Beach Police Department at 772-978-4600.

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