DOVER (FOX 13) - A handyman recently hired by an elderly couple has now been arrested for their murders, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Deputies issued a warrant for 48-year-old Michael Herald’s arrest around 9 a.m., saying they believe he killed John Engelhart, 76, and his 73-year-old wife, Nancy.
The couple’s bodies were found in a shed near their home Thursday evening after a concerned neighbor called the sheriff’s office saying the Engelharts hadn’t been seen in days, and their mail was piling up.
Detectives arrived to the scene in the 10000 block of McIntosh Road a short time later, but said they had to wait hours overnight for a search warrant before they could begin their investigation early Friday morning.
They have not yet said how the couple died, but according to Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, it was very clear that they were murdered.
What remains unclear, however, is why.
Officials have not released any details around how they landed on Herald as a suspect, or what his possible motive may have been.
After deputies asked the public to be on the lookout for Herald this morning, he was arrested this afternoon in Hazard, Kentucky, allegedly driving the couple's missing SUV. HCSO detectives are heading to Kentucky to interview him.
According to Sheriff Gee, neighborly concern is not uncommon in the Engelhart's community. He said it's the type of neighborhood where the locals look out for one another, and where crimes are few and far between.
“It’s a great area. A lot of old-timers in this area. I'm sure it's going to be shocking for people out here," he said early Friday morning.
For Linda Smith, a long-time resident who's known the Engelharts since childhood, Sheriff Gee's statement rang true.
"They didn't deserve this. Nobody deserves this," Smith said choking back tears.
She went on to say that the couple were private people who took care of their property, enjoyed working in their yard and just minded their own business.
As the shock settles among neighbors, deputies say their investigation continues. They ask anyone with information to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
FOX 13 will continue with updates on this developing story.