Gary Levin case: Missing Lyft driver with ties to Philadelphia has died, daughter says
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A missing Florida Lyft driver who had ties to the Philadelphia area has died, according to a family member.
“At this time, my family and I are asking for privacy so that we can process the unfortunate information that we have received,” Lindsay DiBetta said Tuesday. She is the daughter of 74-year-old Gary Levin.
Police in Florida and North Carolina have been looking for Levin for more than a week. His car was found in North Carolina and the man driving it, Matthew Flores, was wanted in connection with a murder in Southwest Florida.
Levin had not been heard from since Jan. 30, when his family says he was picking up a customer in Delray Beach, Fla. His red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted that day in Miami, then in a rural area north of Lake Okeechobee and later in northern Florida, officials said.
The vehicle was seen in North Carolina on February 2 after the US Marshal’s Regional Task Force asked authorities to keep an eye out. Matthew Flores was arrested after a police chase through three counties, Rutherford County, North Carolina, Sheriff Aaron Ellenburg told The Associated Press.
The sheriff said Flores briefly fled on foot before he was arrested and taken to a hospital for a check-up. He was later booked in the county jail and the vehicle was taken to a safe location, the sheriff said.
Flores, 35, was being held on a probation violation and $615,000 bail on North Carolina charges including evading law enforcement, speeding and drunk driving. He also faces a charge of second-degree murder stemming from the fatal shooting of Jose Carlos Martinez last month in Wauchula, Fla.
He was not charged in Levin’s death.
Authorities are investigating how Flores got hold of Levin’s vehicle. Levin’s family said they didn’t know if Flores was the passenger Levin picked up in Delray Beach on Jan. 30.
The body of a man was found over the weekend in a wooded area not far from Levin’s last known whereabouts. Florida authorities have not publicly confirmed the identity of these remains.
Gary Levin’s son Jonathan said his dad wouldn’t just bolt on a whim.
He said the last time they spoke was about the Philadelphia Eagles winning the NFC Championship.
“I spoke to my father last Sunday night. He’s a huge football fan and we cheered on FaceTime as our Eagles go to the Super Bowl. And dad was in a really good place on Monday,” said Jonathan Levin.
“My father was truly a unique person, if you knew or even met him you know exactly what I mean when I say that. The stories I’ve received about him from friends, family and complete strangers over the past week have lifted me up more than you can ever imagine,” Lindsay DiBetta said announce father’s.”
Gary Levin had no known medical conditions.
Family members have not disclosed Levin’s cause of death.
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https://6abc.com/gary-levin-dead-missing-florida-lyft-driver-philadelphia-native-eagles-fan/12782636/ Gary Levin case: Missing Lyft driver with ties to Philadelphia has died, daughter says