Human remains found in Okeechobee County during search for missing Lyft driver

OKEECHOBE COUNTY, Florida (WSVN) — Authorities have discovered human remains in Okeechobee County days after a South Florida Lyft driver disappeared.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said one of their investigations on Saturday morning found the remains of an adult male in a wooded section of a residential area.

“You hate it when this happens here, you know? This road is just an old road,” said local resident Charles Norrison.

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement gathered some information that led them to this location where we found a deceased white male in the area,” Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jack Nash said.

A dozen houses are located on the other side of the forest.

“You know, this is not a good feeling for your area, especially for a small area like this?” Norrison said. “Everyone here is just villagers.

The location where the remains were found is near where missing Lyft driver Gary Levin dropped off a passenger on Monday, investigators said.

Authorities said it was the last location the 74-year-old Palm Beach Gardens resident was known to be.

Norrison worries that human remains may be linked to the case.

“We followed him, you know, and they didn’t identify him, but I have an idea that this is probably who it is, unfortunately,” he said, “but, unfortunately, he has been lying there for a week, almost. It’s horrible.”

Levin’s daughter, Lindsey DiBetta, said her father’s phone had been switched off since 2:00 p.m. Tuesday.

DiBetta said there was no way he would make rideshare trips covering a minimum of 209 miles and then cancel his plans for Monday night with his girlfriend without calling her.

“They had a dinner plan for Monday night and he never came home. He let her know, like, “Hey, I’m going from Palm Beach Gardens to Miami and then to Okeechobee,” she said. – Doesn’t fit at all.

Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger was involved in a high-speed chase and crashed Thursday in North Carolina.

The man behind the wheel, Matthew Scott Flores, was arrested and is now charged with the murder of a man in southwest Florida last month.

On Sunday, DiBetta posted a Facebook post saying: “We are requesting privacy at this time as we process the latest developments in my father’s case. Thank you for all the love and support.”

Flores is being held on $2 million cash bail in North Carolina in connection with a murder in Hardy County, Florida.

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