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First degree murder charges filed in two Cape homicides

By Staff | Nov 19, 2019

A Fort Myers man is facing first-degree murder charges in the deaths of two Cape Coral women, one found dead in her home, the other in a field in the north Cape in October days after her family reported her missing.

State Attorney Amira Fox and Cape Coral Police Chief Dave Newlan on Tuesday announced the indictment of Wade Steven Wilson, 25, in the deaths of Kristine Melton, 35, and Diane Ruiz, 43.

“The Lee County Grand Jury met today and returned an indictment against Wilson for two counts of first degree premeditated murder,” Fox said at a press conference. “He was also indicted for one count each of battery, grand theft of a motor vehicle, burglary of a dwelling and first degree petty theft.”

Melton was found dead in her home on Oct. 7, the same day Ruiz was reported missing.

On Oct. 12, Ruiz’s body was found in the area of Northwest 4th Avenue and Northwest 1st Street in Cape Coral.

“I hope today’s indictment brings some small comfort to the families of these victims,” Fox said. “These two women were preyed upon by the defendant and their murders impacted their families and shook our community.”

Fox applauded the work of CCPD, citing thorough detective work from the department.

“The Cape Coral Police Department investigated these homicides and the events leading up to them, which led to the arrest of the defendant,” Fox said at the conference. “I want to say a huge thank you to Chief Newlan, his command staff, and the two detectives that worked this case, among others, who stand up here with us today — Detective Bell and Detective Jones, and thank them for the absolutely excellent investigative work. They were meticulous, they were patient and that is why we stand here today with a successful indictment for two counts of first degree murder.”

Newlan echoed the fact that the department took its time in investigating Wilson to make sure they had everything they needed before going forward to the State Attorney’s Office.

“Over the past several weeks, while Wilson was in custody, Cape Coral police officers, detectives and support staff worked tirelessly around the clock on these two separate, but related cases,” Newlan said.

Newlan addressed the length of time between Wilson’s arrest and Tuesday’s indictment.

“There have also been questions as to why Wilson was not immediately charged with the deaths of Melton and Ruiz,” Newlan said. “Let me be clear; securing a successful prosecution, and ultimately, a conviction, in this case is paramount. A hastily conducted investigation, simply for the sake of speed, where steps could be missed, benefits no one. We had to ensure that we provided State Attorney Fox and her team with the best investigation with all of our Is dotted and all of our Ts crossed, to ensure that justice will be served. The community as a whole, specifically the families of Kristine Melton and Diane Ruiz, deserve nothing less. “

Wilson remains in custody at the Lee County Jail where he has been incarcerated since Oct. 8 on charges of battery cause bodily, burglary of an unoccupied dwelling unarmed, first degree petty theft, damage property criminal mischief and two out-of-county warrants from Palm Beach County.

Wilson’s first appearance on the new charges will be Wednesday morning.

Assistant State Attorney Andreas Gardiner and Assistant State Attorney Agnieszka Osowicka are prosecuting the case.

“Today’s Grand Jury indictment is just the start of the process of this case as we move forward with the prosecution of the defendant,” Fox said.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj