Snapped is taking a closer look at the case of Matthew Collins, who was murdered by Aria Armstead in Lehigh Acres, Florida.
On the evening of Oct. 12, 2017, Collins used his girlfriend’s vehicle, a red 2015 Chrysler 200, to drive 30 to 40 minutes to get a hair cut in Fort Myers, located off Palm Beach Boulevard.
Hours went by before he contacted her via text message and stated that he was on his way home, but he never arrived.
When she was unable to get a hold of him for the next 24 hours, she contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and reported the 31-year-old missing.
Law enforcement issued a BOLO for the vehicle he was last seen driving.
On Oct. 18, 2017, police located the vehicle in Lehigh Acres, but Collins was nowhere to be found.
Authorities said the vehicle was inoperable because all of the electrical fuses had been removed.
Police officials Immediately suspected foul play in Matthew Collins’ disappearance
When the police searched the vehicle, they found large amounts of blood and a bullet hole in the front windshield.
Details collected from a police investigation led detectives to a heavily wooded area in the 5900 block of Sally Avenue North. It was there that they found human remains buried in a shallow grave.
The remains were later identified as those of Collins.
A cousin of the victim stated that the family was shocked after hearing the news.
She said, “He loved his family. We were, you know, we’re not the perfect family by any means, but we’re close, you know?”
“We constantly kept in contact no matter what. He’s lived with me off and on over the years, so we’re really close.”
Couple arrested in connection with Matthew Collins’ murder
Authorities said Armstead and Ortiz were linked to the murder. The two were in a relationship, living in a house across the street from the area where police found Collins’ body.
Armstead was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Ortiz was charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with physical evidence.
On Aug. 20, 2018, a judge sentenced Armstead to 20 years in prison. She is serving her sentence at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida.
Ortiz was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released in 2020.
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