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Authorities identify homicide victim as missing Cape man

By Staff | Feb 25, 2009

The identity of a man found dead Feb. 13 on his boat in Key West, the victim of a homicide, was confirmed Tuesday as that of Richard Gardner, 57, of Cape Coral.
The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office used dental records to confirm Gardner’s identity because the body could not be identified visually, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Becky Herrin said.
Meanwhile, two Monroe County Sheriff’s Office homicide detectives interviewed two persons of interest in the case Tuesday in Utah.
Deputies from Midvale City took Jonathan Lebaron, 32, and Kristena Whitmore, 40, into custody Saturday after receiving an anonymous tip.
Gardner’s wife reported him missing Feb. 13, but two people were pulled over in Gardner’s 1999 Mercury Marquis on Feb. 12 in Memphis, Tenn. Police in Memphis let the pair go after stopping them for a traffic violation because the car was not yet reported stolen.
According to Midvale Police Department Detective Sgt. John Salazar, Lebaron and Whitmore had Gardner’s checkbook, wallet and business cards in their possession when they were arrested.
As of Tuesday, detectives in Monroe were still trying to determine if Lebaron and Whitmore are the pair pulled over by police in Tennessee.