CCPD: Body identified as Ruiz
Friday afternoon, the Cape Coral Police Department reported that it had positively identified the body found Thursday in the northwest section of the Cape as Diane Ruiz.
The cause of death has not yet been determined by the Lee County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A woman’s body was found Thursday around 1:30 p.m. in the area of Northwest 4th Avenue and Northwest 1st Street in Cape Coral that police said has “similar characteristics” to Ruiz, 43, who was reported missing Monday.
ON Thursday, CCPD spokesperson Sgt. Patrick O’Grady said he could not confirm the identity of the body, but that Ruiz’ family has been notified.
“They were just searching the area,” O’Grady said of how CCPD discovered the body. “They just happened to find the body.”
CCPD believes her disappearance and death may be connected to the death of Kristine Ann Melton, 35, who was found dead at her home also on Oct. 7.
“Preliminary information suggests that the same person of interest from the initial death investigation may be involved in the disappearance of Diane Ruiz,” CCPD said in a statement Wednesday.
O’ Grady confirmed at the crime scene on Thursday that CCPD still believes there is a connection after discovering the body.
“Yes, we’re thinking there is a connection between the two,” O’ Grady said Thursday.
There is no immediate threat to the public, officials said, as the person of interest in the investigation is in police custody for an unrelated charge.
“We do have a person of interest. He is in custody but for a separate crime,” O’ Grady said. “Once we finish this investigation, we’re hoping that we can go forward with our cases.”
CCPD is seeking information from anyone who may have seen a black 2019 Nissan Vera that was traveling east on Pine Island Road Monday, Oct. 7, between 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. Police said the sedan may have turned southbound on U.S. 41 or Old U.S. 41 heading to downtown Fort Myers.
“It is our belief that this vehicle may be involved in her disappearance,” said O’ Grady.
The vehicle is in police custody, and the CCPD is just looking for anyone who may have seen anything that morning. Investigators are also using video surveillance from neighborhood residences and businesses.
“We also have to talk to all of the neighbors that live in the area.,” O’ Grady said. “They might have seen the car, they might have seen the suspect, they might have seen the victim. They might have seen something we haven’t even thought of yet. We have to do a good neighborhood canvas on top.”
Ruiz was last seen walking to the Moose Lodge, her place of work, on at the 200 block of Northwest 3rd Terrace on Oct. 7.
The cause of death for Melton is still pending.
If you have any information on the aforementioned vehicle, please contact the Cape Coral Police Department at 239-574-3223. You can also submit an anonymous tip by going to www.capecops.com/tips or text a tip by texting CCPD and “your message” to CRIMES (274637). Finally, you can call Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.
-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj