DA: Body believed to be missing New Bedford teen Jalajhia Finklea found in Florida

A body found in Fellsmere, Fla. Wednesday afternoon is presumed to be that of missing 18-year-old Jalajhia Finklea, according to an announcement from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Positive identification still has to be made, along with an autopsy to determine the cause of death, which officials believe to be homicide.

Finklea was last seen in New Bedford, Mass. on October 20 when she was getting into the car of a man identified as Luis Zaragoza, 37.

Zaragoza, who also went by the aliases Luis Barbosa and Luis Barboza, was killed in a confrontation with U.S. Marshals in Crestview, Fla. on November 5 when officials were attempting to take him into custody.

“On November 5, U.S. Marshals and an assisting Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to arrest the suspect at a McDonald’s parking lot in Crestview, Florida. The suspect, who was armed with a handgun, died during a confrontation with police,” the Bristol DA’s Office said in their release.

Crestview is about a seven-and-a-half-hour drive from Fellsmere, Fla. Police located the body in a field off the side of Route 95 in Fellsmere Wednesday afternoon at 12 p.m.

“Police determined [Zaragoza] had left the state and traveled south along the eastern seaboard to Florida,” the DA’s office said. “The suspect then traveled to Texas before driving back to Florida. Police have been able to locate surveillance footage from some of the places the suspect traveled to during the course of two weeks, but none of the surveillance shows Ms. Finklea.”

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