OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. (FDLE) – Following an FDLE investigation, an Okeechobee County grand jury Tuesday indicted Mathew Scott Flores, 36, of Wauchula, on charges of first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
While assisting with a Wauchula homicide investigation in January, FDLE special agents linked Flores to the murder of 74-year-old Gary Levin of Palm Beach Gardens.
During the investigation, Fort Myers Regional Operations Center (FMROC) special agents were able to connect Flores to a vehicle stolen out of Orange County and found in Lake Worth. While in Lake Worth, Flores asked for a Lyft ride to be ordered to take him to Okeechobee. Mr. Levin responded to the Lyft request and picked up Flores.
Two days later, Palm Beach Gardens Police Department received a missing person report for Mr. Levin. Following an exhaustive search by FDLE agents, Flores was found driving Mr. Levin’s Lyft vehicle in Rutherford County, North Carolina. After a brief vehicle pursuit, Flores was taken into custody by North Carolina Highway Patrol and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. On February 4, 2023, FDLE agents found Mr. Levin’s body in a wooded lot in Okeechobee County.
Special Agent in Charge Eli Lawson said, “The crime was senseless, calculating, and cold. Mr. Levin was a beloved member of the Palm Beach Gardens community. He was a father and a friend. His loved ones have experienced an insurmountable amount of grief that no one should ever have to go through. ”
The 19th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case. Flores was extradited from Rutherford County Jail to Hardee County Jail on August 8, 2023.