BRANDON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Hillsborough County deputies are hoping to locate a man whose car was found on fire at a Brandon apartment complex.
"[The fire] started from the inside of the car," said Joseannett Diaz-Sanchez, a spokesperson for HCSO. "When we got there, we checked the outside, there was not a license plate."
There is no apparent reason for the car's owner, Samuel Ortiz, to be in Tampa Bay.
Did Ortiz light the car on fire? Did someone else? If so, what does that mean for Ortiz?
"We don't know if he drove his car here," said Diaz-Sanchez. "If he is with someone, that is part of the investigation. We don't believe he is in danger at this very moment."
He lives 1,300 miles away, on Branch Street in Rochester, New York.
His family said that he was last seen at a pizza place in that city's entertainment district.
HCSO said the blue Chevrolet Equinox had a glove box that was purposely damaged. Beyond the arson, there were no signs of anyone being injured inside the car. There is also surveillance video that deputies are looking at.
"He has a little girl who is nine-years-old, who he takes care if," added Diaz-Sanchez. "He has no reason to pick up and leave to come to Florida."
Deputies said until they have evidence something bad has happened, they just need to hear from Ortiz, to know he's okay.
"We want people to call us," said Diaz-Sanchez. "If he is in danger in our area, we want him to call us. We are going to help you."
While he does not have any ties to the Tampa Bay area, he does have family in Orlando. They have not heard from him.