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Daughter of missing Lyft driver Gary Levin says father has passed away

Matthew Flores is person of interest in case, state attorney says
Gary Levin young.jpeg
Posted at 2:34 PM, Feb 07, 2023

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The daughter of a missing Palm Beach Gardens Lyft driver posted Tuesday on Facebook that her father has died.

Multiple sources tell WPTV the remains found in Okeechobee County on Saturday are those of missing Lyft driver Gary Levin, 74.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a Tuesday statement that they identified the victim but did not release a name, citing Marsy's Law. FDLE said the death was a result of a homicide and the investigation remained active.

Thomas Bakkedahl, the state attorney who serves Okeechobee County, said Tuesday that Matthew Flores, 35, is a person of interest in the case.

Levin's daughter, Lindsay DiBetta, posted that they will be announcing information on services in her father's honor in the next few days.

"My dad was truly a one of [a] kind person, if you knew him or even met him once you know exactly what I mean when I say that," DiBetta said in the post.

RELATED: Timeline of the disappearance of Gary Levin

DiBetta went on to say she wanted to thank everyone for "the outpouring love and prayers throughout this nightmare situation. At this time my family and I are asking for privacy so we can process the unfortunate information we have received."

The missing Lyft driver was last seen alive Jan. 30.

A man's badly decomposed body was found Saturday in a wooded area near State Road 70 and Northeast 40th Avenue.

This location was about 2 miles from where investigators said Levin's phone last pinged following his disappearance last week.

Matthew Scott Flores was in court on Feb. 3, 2023, after he was arrested in North Carolina in connection with a homicide in Hardee County, Florida, while driving the vehicle of a missing Lyft driver from Palm Beach Gardens.
Matthew Scott Flores was in court on Feb. 3, 2023, after he was arrested in North Carolina in connection with a homicide in Hardee County, Florida, while driving the vehicle of a missing Lyft driver from Palm Beach Gardens.

Levin's daughter previously said her father left his home in Palm Beach Gardens on Jan. 30 at about noon.

Gainesville police said Levin's license plate for his red 2022 Kia Stinger was picked up by camera readers on Feb. 1. That night, Palm Beach Gardens police put out a release for a missing person. That changed to a missing and endangered person the next day.

Flores has been in custody in North Carolina since Feb. 2 after deputies said they caught him during a high-speed chase driving Levin's Kia Stinger.

Flores was wanted in Florida in connection with a homicide in Hardee County on Jan. 24 and faces multiple charges in that case, but has not been charged in Levin's case.

Flores previously served a year and a half in a North Carolina prison on drug and assault charges.