Deputies arrest man sought in Suwannee County woman's murder

Deputies arrest man wanted in Suwannee County woman's murder
Posted at 5:15 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 18:59:56-04

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - What began as a routine probation inspection could end with premeditated murder charges for Ruben Gutierrez. 

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office received a call to inspect the Gutierrez residence before a planned leave request.

Gutierrez planned to transfer his probation to Marion County.

Authorities then received word that his girlfriend, Delina Cruz, had gone missing.

Investigators returned to the residence and searched all day Monday and Tuesday for Cruz, to no avail. 

"One of my investigators had talked to Mr. Ruben's sister and just questioned her about some things," Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John said. "She, that afternoon, had called one of my investigators and said 'hey I just met with Ruben. We're down here at one of the Alachua exits and we are at a Chevron station with my son. He has just told me that he confessed to killing Delina, and I'm scared.'" 

Gutierrez then fled on foot when he became aware that his sister had contacted law enforcement. 

Deputies found Cruz’s body buried in a field of pine trees just in front of the trailer the two shared.  

An autopsy Wednesday ruled the official cause of death strangulation.

Gutierrez is currently charged with violation of probation, and homicide charges are pending.

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - We're learning new details about what led to the arrest of a man wanted in the murder of a Suwannee County woman. 

According to authorities, Ruben Gutierrez (a.k.a. Ricardo Fuentes, Ruben Portillo Gutierrez) was arrested Wednesday morning by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office for the murder of Delia Cruz.

Cruz was first reported missing on Monday to the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office. According to a statement Guiterrez made to deputies, Cruz walked away from her home on Sunday at approximately 7 p.m. 

The next day, SCSO received a tip that Delia’s boyfriend, Gutierrez, had confessed to murdering Delia and burying her body. 

That caller also said that the suspect was at a convenience store in Alachua County, so the SCSO requested assistance from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies from ASO responded to the Chevron in Micanopy near I-75 just after 12:30 p.m., but the suspect had already left the business. Several deputies began a K-9 track from that location, and images of the suspect from video surveillance were shared with the public.

As the search continued in Alachua, SCSO, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement - Mobile Crime Lab, recovered the body of a female who matched the description of Delia Cruz.

The body was found in a shallow grave in the 22000 block of 41st Road, which is near Cruz's home. 

Search efforts in the area were winding down when a resident along in Micanopy went to check on his neighbor’s home after hearing about the case.

Inside, he saw the suspect’s feet poking out of a closet and ran outside, notified the Sheriff’s Office, and the search continued.

With the help of partner agencies that included the Gainesville Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Corrections, leaders of the search were certain the suspect was still in the perimeter and continued house-to-house searches throughout the night.

Just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, search team members found a vacant home in the 700 block of SW 1st Avenue in Micanopy.

While checking that house, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Huk” and his human partner found Fuentes hiding in a bathroom, and he was taken into custody.

The green duffle bag he left the convenience store with was located later that afternoon.

Fuentes will be booked in to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Department of the Jail for crimes related to the two residences he broke in to while on the run, and will eventually return to Suwannee County to answer for their charges. 

The body will be sent to the Medical Examiner’s in Tallahassee for positive identification and to determine the cause of death.

This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - A multi-agency manhunt is underway for a man who admitted to killing a missing Wellborn woman and burying her body.

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office says that on Monday, they received a report that Delia Cruz, 32, was missing from her Wellborn home.

According to her boyfriend, Ruben Gutierrez (a.k.a. Ricardo Fuentes, Ruben Portillo Gutierrez), Cruz walked away from her home in the 22000 block of 41st Road on Sunday at approximately 7 p.m. He said she was wearing a white and pink shirt and blue jeans at the time.

Deputies requested the assistance of the Florida Department of Corrections K9 Team from Suwannee Correctional Institution to respond the area to attempt to locate Delia. That search was unsuccessful.

Tuesday morning, one of Gutierrez's family members contacted the SCSO and stated that Ruben had confessed to her that he murdered Delia and had buried her body.

The family member stated that Ruben was currently at a convenience store in Alachua County off of I-75. Deputies with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office responded, but Gutierrez had already left the store but was later spotted in the woods near I-75 and County Road 234 in Micanopy.

Right now, the Alachua, Marion, and Suwannee County Sheriff’s Offices, along with the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Florida Department of Corrections are in the area utilizing both ground and air units to locate and apprehend Gutierrez.

He was last seen wearing a dark shirt, jean shorts, and a dark baseball hat.

At this time, deputies say Delia has not been located. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Mobile Crime Lab is currently at Delia’s residence processing the scene for any potential evidence.

If you have any information regarding his location, you are asked to contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Gutierrez served prison time for a sexual battery out of Marion County back in 2004. He is also registered as a sex offender. 

Gutierrez was released from prison in December 2017 after serving ten years for attempted murder. His most recent address is listed in Lake City.