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Lehigh duo facing murder charges tied to missing persons case

November 1, 2017
Special to THE CITIZEN ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A Lehigh Acres couple has been charged with murder in the death of a recent missing man.

On Oct. 13, the Lee County Sheriff's Office was contacted about a missing person. Matthew Eugene Collins, 31, was last seen on Oct. 12 at about 5 p.m. when he left his residence to get his hair cut.

Collins' girlfriend reported him missing after she was unable to reach him.

Article Photos

Aria Armstead

At the time, he was driving a red 2015 Chrysler 200, which was also missing. The last contact Collins' girlfriend had with him was a text message that he sent indicating that he was in North Fort Myers.

On Oct. 18, the Chrysler was recovered in Lehigh Acres. A search of the vehicle revealed that Collins was a victim of foul play as there was a bullet hole in the front windshield and blood inside of it.

The investigation established two suspects, Aria Armstead, 19, and Nathan Ortiz, 20, both of 5901 Sally Ave. N. The couple's residence was a few blocks away from where Collins' vehicle was found.

Information gathered through investigation led authorities to a heavily wooded lot at 5902 Sally Ave. N., across from the couple's home. A shallow grave containing human remains was found at the site.

Based on the information accumulated, detectives linked Armstead and Ortiz to Collins' death.

Aria has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of tampering with physical evidence. Nathan has been charged with one count of accessory after the fact and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Matthew Collins," Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said. "The results of this investigation are yet another example of the dedication, attention to detail and the overall level of professionalism upheld daily by both the Major Crimes Unit and Missing Persons Unit who worked collectively to bring forth justice for the Collins family and our community."

Source: Lee County Sheriff's Office



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