By WLOS Staff
RUTHERFORDTON, North Carolina (WLOS) — A man wanted for murder in Florida was extradited from Rutherford County on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, the Rutherford County District Attorney’s Office said.
Matthew Flores was arrested in February after a chase and crash while he was driving a missing Palm Beach Gardens Lyft driver’s vehicle. Flores, 36, has not been charged in Gary Levin’s death, but police have called him a person of interest.
But Flores has been charged in the Jan. 24, 2023, shooting death of Jose Carlos Martinez in Hardee County, Florida. According to court records, a grand jury indicted Flores on charges of first-degree murder, grand theft auto, possession of a firearm by a felon and tampering with evidence in that case.
Police were searching for Flores in that case when Levin disappeared after dropping off a customer in Okeechobee.
As previously reported, on Feb. 2, 2023, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Forest City Police Department and Spindale Police Department assisted the North Carolina Highway Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force with a multi-county vehicle pursuit. After a brief foot pursuit, authorities were able to apprehend Flores, who was charged with a parole violation, being a fugitive, felony speeding to elude arrest and DWI.
District Attorney Ted Bell, who represents McDowell and Rutherford counties, said local charges against Flores were dropped in March in order to expedite his extradition to Florida.
Levin, 74, was found dead Feb. 7 in Okeechobee County, Florida.
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