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Matthew Flores is person of interest in missing Lyft driver case, state attorney says

Flores taken into custody in North Carolina 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.
Posted at 3:57 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 17:46:28-05

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — The state attorney who serves Okeechobee County said Tuesday that a man in custody in North Carolina is a person of interest in a missing Lyft driver case.

State Attorney Thomas Bakkedahl confirmed those details to WPTV.

Matthew Flores, 35, was taken into custody on Thursday night in Rutherford County, North Carolina, driving a Kia Stinger owned by Gary Levin, 74, of Palm Beach Gardens.

RELATED: Timeline into investigation of missing Lyft driver

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

Court files show Flores was previously arrested in October 2020 for hitting a police officer with his car and speeding off after he was questioned.

Gary Levin of Palm Beach Gardens was last seen Jan. 30, 2023.
Gary Levin of Palm Beach Gardens was last seen Jan. 30, 2023.

RELATED: Neighbors of missing Lyft driver: 'We love you'

During that incident, police caught Flores in an adjacent county and after his arrest, he served a year and seven months on drug and assault charges.

Flores was released from prison last May.

He is facing a second-degree murder charge and other counts stemming from the fatal shooting last month of Jose Carlos Martinez in Wauchula, Florida.

Levin's daughter posted Tuesday on Facebook that her father has died.

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

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.