Authorities seek public's help in solving New Year's Eve death in Port St. Lucie
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBS12) —
St. Lucie County deputies need your help solving an unusual death in Port St. Lucie.
Deputies initially thought the man was a victim of a hit-and-run crash, but now they said something else could have happened.
The day before New Year’s Eve on Dec. 30, 35-year-old Danilo Bichalo Dos Reis was found dead on Airoso Boulevard. Dos Reis is originally from Brazil, but worked and lived in the area.
Detective Sgt. Suzanne Woodward said they thought it was a hit-and-run based off what witnesses told them.
“People were saying, 'He was struck by a car, he was struck by a car,'" she said.
However, when they went back to re-interview these people, none of them ever actually saw Dos Reis get hit. They only saw the aftermath.
They obtained video surveillance from a nearby businesses, but there’s no video surveillance in the residential area of Airoso Boulevard.
Investigators are not releasing that video yet, but said it shows Dos Reis shopping in stores on Prima Vista and Floresta, then walking in the direction of his home. Sgt. Woodward said the video shows Dos Reis crossing the road twice before they lose him, but no swerving or anything showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment. The official toxicology report won’t be finished for another 4 to 6 weeks.
After gathering all this evidence, Woodward said they still don’t know exactly what happened.
“It’s not looking any less like a hit and run and it's not looking any more like a hit and run either,” she said.
The medical examiner determined Dos Reis died from blunt force trauma to the body, some of his injuries being consistent with being hit by a car and some with a fight or some sort of altercation.
“Was there evidence he was struck by car? Yes, there was evidence he was struck by a car, but the evidence where he was struck by a car didn't cause his death,” Woodward said.
So investigators need the public's help to solve the case.
“We know there are some people out there who know exactly what happened and actually stopped to render aid or look at the body,” St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said.
At least three people stopped, according to Woodward. She said two cars stopped and then left the scene, according to witness statements. One of those cars had more than one person in it.
But you don’t need to be one of those people to come forward.
“You may not even realize you know something, but that's what we're looking for," Woodward said. 'Anybody who can tell us anything."
You can contact detectives directly by calling 772-462-3230 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-8477 (TIPS). Sheriff Mascara said you are eligible for a reward in this case.