Detectives Find Car Tied to Winter Springs Carjacking

SANFORD -- The investigation into a carjacking and kidnapping in Winter Springs that led to the killing of a 31-year-old Homestead woman took a bizarre turn Monday.

"This is right out of a television show," said Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma. He announced that the green Acura seen blocking in an SUV during the abduction of Katherine Guerrero de Aguasvivas was found at an apartment complex Saturday. The car had been purchased from a buy-here-pay-here lot but the buyers didn't return to finish the paperwork. Lemma says it's been on the streets for weeks with temporary license plates based on a stolen tag.

Lemma says the car was towed from an apartment March 19th. Strangely, the tow truck driver involved was murdered in Taft April 10th. Lemma says the Acura has been tied to that crime scene. Lemma says there were more than 100 rounds fired there, including unusual 10 millimeter rounds. Lemma says they're trying to identify the people who were in that car during the tow truck driver murder and the carjacking.

Additionally, Lemma says an Orange County deputy has been arrested in connection with the case. Lemma says Francisco Estrella was contacted by Guerrero de Aguasvivas' husband, asking for information about the investigation into his wife's death and the detectives involved. Estrella then accessed a driver's license database used by law enforcement to check their names and personal information, which is not available to the public. Lemma says Estrella also called the Seminole sheriff's office using a fake name, claiming to be an OCSO detective and requesting information on the case. Lemma says investigators found out because the husband turned over his phone to detectives. Lemma says the husband has been cooperating with detectives so far and is not "a person of interest" at this time.

Lemma says the deputy's involvement didn't compromise the investigation, but did raise the potential of endangering the detectives' safety. Lemma says measures have been taken. The sheriff says the investigation is exploring the possibility that the carjacking and related crimes are tied to gangs or cartels, but he's not ready to "turn that rock over."

Lemma says Guerrero de Aguasvivas was apparently followed, carjacked and kidnapped at an intersection in Winter Springs. Hours later, her car was found on fire at a construction site in Osceola County, with a body believed to be hers inside.

Photo: Seminole County Sheriff's Office

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