By Carli Teprofff, cteproff@MiamiHerald.com
The Broward Sheriff’s Office had little to go on – a charred body, a burned car and a remote wooded area in Weston.
Would they ever solve this case?
But with the help of the medical examiner’s office and technology, BSO on Wednesday announced an arrest in connection with the human remains. The body, found Feb. 10, was identified as 18-year-old Crestony Colin.
Hiram David Gonzalez-Morales, 43, of Lake Worth was charged with first-degree murder after deputies discovered through Colin’s friends that the two likely met in a drug deal, according to sheriff’s office.
“This was excellent work from our detectives,” said BSO spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion. “They were able to bring closure and answers to this family.”
On Feb. 10, BSO’s Fire Rescue 55 was heading along U.S. 27 when the crew noticed a plume of smoke coming from a remote stretch off the highway.
The paramedics found a car on fire next to a fence off Southwest 26th Street in a remote wooded area of Weston.
After extinguishing the flames, rescuers opened the trunk and found human remains.
At the time, BSO said that because the area is not heavily traveled, it seemed like someone tried to dump the car.
The body was so badly charred, deputies could not determine the gender, age or any other details.
According to Gonzalez Morales’ arrest report, the medical examiner’s office was able to determine that the body belonged to a black male who had been shot in the head. The car was later found to be a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu that was an overdue Thrifty Dollar Rental out of Palm Beach County.
Detectives were able to track down the person who rented the car. She said she had loaned the car to her boyfriend and that she had not heard from him despite several tries. Deputies later discovered that her boyfriend was Crestony Colin. The last time friends had heard from Colin was Feb. 9.
Deputies then learned that Colin had stayed at a Red Roof Inn in Palm Beach County Feb. 8. A friend of Colin’s, Fequens Laurent, who rented the room, told police that Colin had $2,000 to $3,000 and had been talking about “having something big set up,” according to the report.
The friend said that Colin had been dealing with a “Spanish male,” the report states. With the help of cellphone records, deputies were led to Gonzalez Morales.
Deputies served a search warrant Tuesday and Gonzalez Morales voluntarily came to Broward County to speak with detectives. Gonzalez Morales told deputies he often bought drugs from the victim, but hadn’t seen him recently, according to the report.
Gonzalez Morales, who had severe burns on both legs, was arrested and charged with murder. He remains in Broward jail.
His past record includes a robbery arrest in 2008.
In November, the charred bodies of a young couple were found in the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz parked at a Hialeah warehouse. Megan Roccelle McNulty, 22, and Georbel González Rodríguez, 25, had been shot. Police have not said how the couple ended up dead although speculation at the time involved a drug deal.