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2 Arrested In Poinciana Murder Case

The Tampa Tribune

KISSIMMEE - A month-long search for two suspects in a Polk County murder ended early Friday after authorities found the men hiding in a home, the Polk sheriff’s office said.

Authorities from several agencies tracked down Hansel Mercedes-Castro, 22, and Juan Carlos Cruz, 19, at 2301 Holland Street in Kissimmee.

Earlier this month, detectives arrested Raza Abbas Rizvi, who is a third suspect in the murder. Rizvi, 21, was found July 7 near New Orleans.

Authorities say the three men broke into the Poinciana home of Derek Phillips in November 2005. Something went wrong during the burglary, and Phillips, 36, who was asleep, was shot in the head with an AK-47, the sheriff’s office said.

The men are charged with first-degree murder, armed burglary and attempted armed robbery.

Castro and Cruz were in the Osceola County Jail on Saturday and will be transported to Polk County in the next few days. Rizvi is in a Louisiana jail and has to be extradited to Polk County, the sheriff’s office said.


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