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Teen charged as adult in stabbing death

August 21, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

A 13-year-old Cape Coral boy was indicted this week in the stabbing death of a homeless man.

A Lee County grand jury met Wednesday and indicted Yoel Munoz, of 502 N.E. Van Loon Lane, as an adult on one count of first-degree murder in the recent death of Thomas J. Bergstrom, 51. The grand jury also indicted him for one count of burglary while armed, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Circuit Judge Mark Steinbeck set Munoz's arraignment for Monday on the charges.

He had his first appearance before a judge on Thursday.

"He is being held without bond," Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office, said.

Defense attorney Ian Mann is representing Munoz.

Mann did not return a message Thursday seeking comment.

Munoz's family could not be reached for comment.

At about 11:48 a.m. Aug. 2, Cape Coral police responded to a homeless camp near the intersection of Northeast Fourth Street and Northeast First Avenue. According to a police report, the caller advised that a neighbor and fellow homeless person - later identified as Bergstrom - was deceased in his camp.

Officers found Bergstrom covered in blood, with a large open injury to his right forearm. Evidence on scene indicated that he was attacked while seated in a recliner inside of his manmade structure or home.

Bergstrom then fell face forward on the ground, ending up partially inside and outside of the doorway.

The caller advised that prior to contacting police, he had arrived and found Bergstrom's body.

According to the report, Bergstrom sustained several stab or incised wounds to his upper torso, right hand and arm. A bread and bagel knife, which tested positive for blood, was retrieved from the bank of a nearby pond. A white Halloween or hockey mask was found on a path leading away from the camp.

Police noted that the mask had writings and drawings on it, as well as blood smeared all over it.

Earlier that morning, Cape police had responded to Cape Coral Hospital, where Munoz was being treated for a stab wound to his thigh. Uncooperative, he reportedly gave different stories of what had happened.

Officers responded to the teen's home, where an investigation revealed that Munoz had entered his residence via a side window and blood smears were left on the walls and a nearby bed, officials said.

Inside, a knife block was found that matched the brand of knife found at the scene; some of the knives were gone.

The report states that writings found in Munoz's room were similar in style to those found on the discarded mask. A bloody shirt was located in the teen's bathroom, as well as the pair of shoes Munoz was reportedly wearing the night of the incident. They were located in the garage in plastic bags.

Munoz's mother reportedly confirmed that she had purchased a similar mask for her son.

On Aug. 3, Munoz was arrested and charged for allegedly entering Bergstrom's residence while armed with a knife and stabbing the victim repeatedly until he died. He was booked at the Lee County Jail.



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