Man arrested after authorities find missing car of murdered Florida couple (2024)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Nearly four months after an older couple wasfound shot to deathin their Fort Lauderdale home and their car stolen from their driveway, police said a man who was in a relationship with one of the couple’s granddaughters was the person who took the car.

Claudette Melvin, 85, and her husband, Major Melvin, 89, were found shot in their chests on March 22 by a relative, who has special needs and lived with them on the 600 block of Southwest 30th Terrace, according to an arrest warrant. Detectives released photos of their red 2014 Ford Fusion and said at a news conference in April that it was imperative they find it. Little other information was released at the time and in the months since.

While not charged in relation to the murders, Maurice Anthony Newson, 30, of Davie was arrested on a warrant in May in Fort Lauderdale for grand theft auto and dealing in stolen property, Broward County court records show.

Newson is accused of selling the car to a tow truck company in Wilton Manors for $200 the same evening that the couple was found dead, according to the warrant.

Newson “had been coming around the home following the homicide ‘acting strange’ and asking a lot of questions about what detectives were saying about the investigation,” family members told detectives, the warrant said.

Newson’s attorney did not respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday evening. He could not be reached by phone after business hours. Court records show Newson was released from jail after posting bail and pleaded not guilty in late June.

“This is an ongoing investigation and detectives are working diligently to determine Newson’s involvement, if any, in the murders,” Fort Lauderdale police spokesperson Casey Liening said. “We encourage anyone with information regarding this incident to contact police immediately. Broward Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for any information leading to an arrest.”

Details of shooting emerge

The Melvins’ names are almost entirely redacted in the warrant, though it is clear they are the victims and the warrant is connected to their case.

Claudette Melvin was found lying on her back near their dining room table with a gunshot in her left chest and a 9mm bullet casing near her foot, the arrest warrant said. Major Melvin was found in the living room lying on his stomach and a 9mm casing in his shirt near his stomach.

Detectives did not find any guns in the home, and family members said the couple’s only set of car keys was missing from a key holder in the kitchen, the warrant said.

The relative who lived with the couple, whose name is redacted in the warrant, told detectives he was in his room sleeping and watching TV that day and night and found a body lying on the floor when he came out, the warrant said. The relative called his sister and told her to come to the home for an “emergency, emergency.”

Man arrested after authorities find missing car of murdered Florida couple (1)

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The detective who interviewed him asked why he didn’t call 911, and he said, “No one taught me how to call 911,” the warrant said. He said he never heard any gunshots that night.

Surveillance cameras at the home showed a “suspect vehicle,” a dark four-door sedan, arriving shortly before 1 a.m. March 22. Someone got out of the car, appeared to reach into the backseat and then walk toward the home, the warrant said.

The video showed the person getting back to the car just after 1 a.m. and driving away north on Southwest 30th Terrace. Just before 3:30 a.m., the Melvins’ car lights turn on in the driveway, the video showed, and it leaves the area north on Southwest 30th Terrace, the warrant said.

License plate readers showed the car heading north on Florida’s Turnpike shortly before 4 a.m. near Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach. It was parked at the Cypress Creek Tri-Rail station in Fort Lauderdale and sat unmoved until about 9 p.m. when the tow truck driver picked it up, the warrant said.

The detective who authored the warrant for Newson’s arrest wrote there was “probable cause to believe the same suspects are involved in the homicide, the theft of the victim’s vehicle and the vehicle north on the Florida Turnpike within Broward County.”

Witness saw car in tow yard

A witness “flagged down” a Fort Lauderdale police officer on April 4 and said that “the red vehicle seen all over the news” was parked at a tow company on the 600 block of West Oakland Park Boulevard, according to the warrant.

Officers asked Broward County Sheriff’s Office personnel flying a helicopter for an unrelated incident to check the car, and sheriff’s office personnel noted it had the same damage and bumper sticker as the car in the be-on-the-lookout that Fort Lauderdale police issued earlier.

Detectives interviewed a driver with the tow company who said that his boss texted him about 6:30 p.m. March 22 about a 2012 Ford Fusion for sale. The driver met with a man, whom he later identified in a photo line up as Newson, to purchase it for $200, the warrant said.

On May 23, detectives with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s Fugitive Unit detained Newson at his job at a retail store where he is a security guard and took him to the headquarters to be booked, an arrest report said.

©2024 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.

Man arrested after authorities find missing car of murdered Florida couple (2024)
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