TAMPA (FOX 13) - The family of the third victim in a string of deaths in Seminole Heights says the 20-year-old with autism was about to walk home after accidentally getting off at the wrong bus stop after work.
Maria Rodriguez says she knew in her heart something terrible had happened to their son when he wouldn’t answer his phone Thursday night.
“I kept calling and calling. No answers, it went straight to voicemail,” she remembers.
Hours later, Maria and her husband, Casimar got the horrible news. Their son had been killed.
“It’s the most awful feeling, to know that your child is dead and you have these people coming to let you know, to confirm. It’s very devastating,” she said.
Tampa police believe all three murders are random and linked only by a common killer.
Anthony's family says, in spite of his mild autism, he graduated from high school last year.
He was going to receive his first paycheck Friday from his new job where he packed supplies to be sent to Puerto Rico for the Hurricane Maria relief effort.
His family says his job had quickly become a big source of pride for Anthony. He was excited to get his first check so he could take his mother and four younger siblings out for dinner.
Police are still looking for the person in surveillance video captured the night of Benjamin Mitchell’s murder. They believe he may be the key to unraveling the mystery.
They want anyone with any information to come forward.
“I just hope someone in the community can speak out. To not be afraid. Like my husband said, it could be your son, your daughter, your parent you don’t know when it’s going to be your turn. Just speak up. Just speak up,” Anthony’s mother said.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are offering a combined reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in three murders in Seminole Heights.
Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the suspect(s) and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477 (TIPS), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application. Crime Stoppers must be contacted first in order to be eligible for a cash reward.
The family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help with the cost of the funeral.