The body of a pregnant Massachusetts woman, last seen in October, was found in Florida, authorities said this week.
Florida police officers found the body of Jalajhia Finklea, 18, from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in a field off Interstate 95 in Fellsmere around noon on Wednesday.
A positive identification is pending, said the Bristol District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. An autopsy is done to determine the cause of death, which is believed to be murder.
Finklea was last seen on October 20 in a vehicle driven by Luis Zaragoza in New Bedford. He rented the car at Logan International Airport in Boston, authorities said.
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Prosecutors said Finklea last called Zaragoza on her cell phone. Her and Zaragoza’s cell phones were turned off both minutes after getting into the vehicle, authorities said.
Investigators found Finklea’s phone on Route 140 in New Bedford, 5 miles from where she got in the car with Zaragoza.
“As a result of these efforts, police found that the suspect had left the state and traveled south along the east coast to Florida,” prosecutors said.
The surveillance footage showed Zaragoza, who also went by the name Luis Barboza, in several locations within two weeks. Finklea did not take any of the recordings. Massachusetts authorities then reached out to the US Marshals Service for help locating the pregnant teen.
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Marshals found Zaragoza in Florida on November 4th and began watching him. The next day the task force tried to arrest him in a McDonald’s parking lot in Crestview. Zaragoza, who was armed with a pistol, was shot dead when authorities tried to arrest him.
The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.