HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) — Police discovered a body in a closet inside a Hollywood home, prompting an investigation that led to grizzly details of the man’s death during the weekend of Hurricane Irma.
Police have identified the man killed as Ariel Fleitas Gonzalez, who lived in an apartment complex on Lincoln Street.
His body was discovered back on September 13th – days after his neighbors said he was last seen.
Officers have a man in custody, 30-year-old Travis Watson, who they’ve listed as homeless.
When Watson sat down with police, he told them what happened, according to the police report.
Watson claims Gonzalez invited him and another friend into his apartment during the weekend the storm hit.
At some point in their encounter, Watson said Gonzalez started soliciting him for sex, which later upset Watson’s friend.
But the situation escalated and turned ugly.
Police said Watson started hitting Gonzalez and asking him where he kept his money.
When Gonzalez didn’t respond, Watson’s friend tortured him and continued to beat him with various items including a hanger, broomstick and an extension cord, according to the report.
Watson said they did find a wallet in Gonzalez’s home but his friend continued to beat him, even pouring hot grease on him, until he died.
When they realized Gonzalez had died, they wrapped his body in a sheet and shrink wrap, then put him in the closet, according to the police report.
Days later, officers conducting a welfare check found Gonzalez’s body in a closet in his blood-splattered bedroom.
Neighbors knew 50-year-old Gonzalez as a quiet man who would sit on his patio and wave hello. They knew something was wrong when police officers began searching his home.
“I saw the crime scene tape. Forensics, they spent days in there… many nights,” said the neighbor.
Watson is now charged with robbery, kidnapping and failing to report a death to the Medical Examiner.
Police are looking for a second assailant.