BARTOW – Sometimes law enforcement may not fully understand what they have – and, as it turns out, they have a suspect right in plain sight.
A case in point: Guadalupe Osorio-Jaramillo. Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives were on the hunt for a murder suspect based on an unsolved case dating back to 1997, when they discovered the man they were looking for was in the ideal place: the Polk County Jail. The man had been arrested on an unrelated charge and had given the jail a false name, but it was his fingerprints that identified him. Osorio-Jaramillo is one of two suspects in the 1997 Polk County homicide case.
“This is a great demonstration of advanced technology helping us to solve crime and arrest criminal suspects,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “Had it not been for our investment in AFIS technology” – a reference to the statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System – “this guy could have continued to fly under the radar and avoid detection.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, a man was booked into the Polk County Jail under the name of Juan Martinez Garcia. A fingerprint scan at the jail was conducted and uploaded to the AFIS database.
An electronic match linked that man with Osorio-Jaramillo.
“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement analysts believed that the man may actually be Guadalupe Osorio-Jaramillo,” noted Stephanie Mier, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
FDLE notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Identification Section, “where our fingerprint analyst compared the prints and confirmed the man was, in fact, Osorio-Jaramillo,” Mier said.
A warrant for first degree murder had been issued in 1997 for Osorio-Jaramillo, 39. It was finally served on him in the Polk County Jail on Thursday, Jan. 26. He’s now being held without bond.
The sheriff’s office said they’re charging Osorio-Jaramillio with the murder of Leobardo Ramirez, who was shot and killed while at his home at 901 Lake Ave. in Haines City. The sheriff’s office reported that this case started that evening when the victim was awakened by the sound of gunfire. He got up and traced the sounds to a home on U.S. 17/92 in Davenport, where he found two men and asked them to stop firing their gun.
“The victim exchanged words with both men about the gunfire,” Mier said. “A witness observed one of the men, Ernesto Estrada, shoot Ramirez in the back. The witness then observed Osorio-Jaramillo hit the victim in the head with a gun and shoot Ramirez several more times.”
Estrada is still at large, and there’s an outstanding warrant for first degree murder in his name that was issued on Oct. 31, 1997.
Judd said this was a good example of how DNA technology can help solve crimes.
“It is our hope that Osorio-Jaramillo will spend the rest of his life behind bars — and we have the original detectives who investigated the case, expert fingerprint analysts, both here and at FDLE, and advanced technology to thank,” Judd said.
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