Florida authorities confirm that the murder victim was discovered to be a pregnant teenager from New Bedford


The prime suspect, 37-year-old Luis Zaragoza, left vital information about her whereabouts before dying in a clash with U.S. marshals and a local sheriff’s deputy who tried to get him on May 11, Quinn’s office said.

The information from Zaragoza came to light after his death when investigators searched his phone. The device contained a typed note he had compiled describing the events of October 20 when Finklea got into his rental car on Coggeshall Street in New Bedford.

“In the note, Mr. Zaragoza described his own depression and said that while Mrs. Finklea was in his car on Coggeshall Street in New Bedford, he ‘snapped'”, the statement from Quinn’s office read. “He continued typing ‘she’s gone’ and gave directions to where to find Ms. Finklea in Fellsmere, Florida. This information led to the discovery of the deceased. “

The death of Zaragoza, who previously dated Finklea’s aunt, continues to be investigated by Florida law enforcement. Quinn’s office said Zaragoza was “armed with a pistol” at the time of his death.

After her disappearance, Finklea has been described as a lively member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe with a passion for songwriting.

Her sudden and strange disappearance, which occurred during a two-day medical procedure, sparked concern among loved ones and sparked a search that spanned at least a dozen states.

Finklea was five months pregnant and had spent the morning of October 20 in a doctor’s office where she underwent the first operation in an unspecified two-part medical procedure, officials said. Then she returned home, where she lived with her mother, who left just before sunset to fill out a prescription for her daughter and returned to an empty house 40 minutes later. Surveillance cameras in the surrounding streets caught Finklea leaving her house with no bags and slippers.

Nine days later, detectives found their black iPhone on the shoulder of Route 140 near the Freetown, Massachusetts city limits. Finklea was nowhere to be seen. The call log showed that the last number contacted was associated with Zaragoza, who quickly became the prime suspect in the kidnapping case.

“She’s my best friend and I knew something was wrong when I didn’t hear from her for an hour, let alone a whole day,” wrote longtime friend Geana Fonseca (18) about the day Finklea disappeared , in a message to message the globe. “I could tell you that she is strong, that she always wanted everyone in her circle to win. For those she loved and those she loved, she would do anything. “

Finklea was supposed to be at the doctor’s office for a follow-up on October 21, but a police report said she never showed up. She never told anyone in her family or her large network of friends, with whom she regularly corresponded via SMS, Snapchat, and Facebook, of any intentions to leave.

Her mother organized a search party to search the area where her daughter’s phone was found by police. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe dedicated the cover of the November issue of their magazine to a photo of Finklea.

In 2018, Finklea appeared on a community TV program, exuding confidence and serenity as she described the importance of education and her dream of embarking on a singing career after graduation.

“I started [writing music] for my brothers and my father because he died ”, said the then 16-year-old Finklea about her musical inspiration. “I felt like I had to do something and I felt that music was the right place because I can express my feelings in music and maybe the people who listen will feel the same way.”

Material from previous Globe stories has been used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Hanna Krueger can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @hannaskrueger.


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