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Updated: Armed homicide suspect shot by deputies serving warrant

By Staff | Aug 8, 2012

Update:

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of a North Fort Myers man whose death, officials say, is linked to a man shot by deputies serving a warrant in an unrelated homicide.

The body of Gregory Imhoff, 61, of 17801 Pineapple Palm, was found by a deputy conducting a wellness check at 3562 Sable Springs Blvd. late Tuesday.

Officials have said they believe the death is connected to Billy Ray Retherford, 42, who died on scene at a residence in the 1200 block of Laurel Drive after he confronted Lee County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Officials say Retherford, who was wanted in the death of a Fort Myers woman, was armed.

No other information was released.

First report:

A North Fort Myers man wanted in a Fort Myers homicide was shot to death early Wednesday morning by Lee County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Billy Ray Retherford, 42, died on scene at a residence in the 1200 block of Laurel Drive in North Fort Myers where task force members had arrived to serve a warrant shortly after midnight.

Officials say Retherford was armed and that he also is connected to a second homicide that occurred at 3562 Sable Springs Blvd. Tuesday night, just hours before his encounter with deputies.

“The Sable Springs incident is believed to be directly related to the events surrounding the scene on Laurel Lane where Billy Ray Retherford’s life of crime came to an end,” said Sheriff Mike Scott in a prepared statement issued Wednesday. “The residents of Sabal Springs and parents with children at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts have nothing to fear.”

No details in the Sable Springs Boulevard homicide have been released.

Retherford was sought in the “very violent death” of Debra Rose Striano, 55, who was found dead in her home at 17691 Oakmont Ridge Circle on July 24.

Her dog, a border collie, was also found with serious injuries requiring veterinary care, officials have stated, adding it is believed the dog sustained wounds when trying to protect Striano.

Retherford’s nephew, Dustin Dean Jaye, 23, of 7621 Morgan Jones Drive, was arrested July 31 in connection with Striano’s death. He is charged with felony murder, home invasion robbery and destruction of evidence.

Police continued to search for Retherford, who also was wanted for felony violation of probation. Retherford, who shared a home with Jaye, had served time in prison for violent felony crimes and was considered dangerous, officials with the Lee County Sheriff Office said in an earlier release announcing Jaye’s arrest.

Investigators say the pair targeted Striano’s home because they knew of valuables inside.