Authorities have arrested a woman in connection to the apparent murders of an elderly couple whose bodies were discovered in their home on New Year’s Eve.
The suspect — identified by police only as a “person of interest” — was not immediately charged with killing Darryl Getman, 83, and Sharon Getman, 80, but investigators are trying to put together probable cause for murder, said Michael Gibson, interim police chief of Mount Dora, Florida.
The lawman told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday that the woman is being held out of state for stealing the couple’s car.
“I’m pretty confident in the investigation at this point,” he said.
The Getmans were found dead Saturday afternoon, New Year’s Eve, after a neighbor called security about something suspicious in the Waterman Village senior living community, Gibson said. Security called police upon arriving at the scene.
According to police, however, the story started the day before. Security had removed the woman later identified as the person of interest — described by Gibson as a Black woman in a “very unique” outfit — from the Waterman community on Friday at about 3 p.m., Gibson said. Then, at 4:14 p.m., she was allegedly seen on security footage at Lake Margaret Circle in the Waterman community.
At about 10:58 p.m. that night, she entered the building at 301 Lake Margaret Circle, which is a big tower up in the front, police said. The woman allegedly went up to apartment 4105, which was not the Getmans’ home. According to Gibson, she knocked on the door, made contact with a female resident, and asked to take a shower. The tenant panicked, hit the alarm button, to which police and security responded. Before authorities arrived, the person of interest allegedly asked if she called 911. The tenant said yes. The person of interest then stole keys to a car and a mailbox key, then she fled, Gibson said.
Authorities said the Getman’s vehicle was photographed leaving the facility three hours later, at Dec. 31, 2:02 a.m. Around 10 or 12 minutes later, the person of interest reportedly walked back into Waterman Village, and security kicked her out, Gibson said. Security followed her out but lost sight of her.
The Getmans were found dead later in the afternoon at 161 Lake Margaret Circle.
“It was not a comfortable scene,” Gibson said when asked if the Gertmans’ home indicated that violence had occurred. He was often vague about elements of the case and told reporters he withheld certain details to protect the integrity of the prosecution.
Gibson did clarify that the stolen keys were not for the couple’s vehicle, and it is unclear how the person of interest allegedly got the key to their car. In any case, the chief said they received a call on Monday about the vehicle and the driver.
The woman was in custody in another state, and she will be extradited back to Florida in the coming days, Gibson said in the Tuesday press conference. Authorities also have the vehicle, though Gibson declined to say what investigators collected out of the car. He declined to release her name, or even her age, described her as both “not young” and “not old.”
“Not an 18-year-old kid,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing, Gibson said, and the cause of death remains under investigation. Gibson said there is no known connection between the woman and the city of Mount Dora. She has very limited connection with anything in Central Florida, he added.
“It appears it was a random crime,” said Gibson, who repeatedly expressed sadness at the murders and sympathy for the Getmans. He noted that they had been living out their “golden years of retirement,” and that he himself had retired once.
“We’re pretty somewhat confident in saying that she was passing through,” he told reporters of the suspect. “She was passing through, and she upset our lives.”
Asked if he knew the Getmans, he said he did not, but did meet their children: “A beautiful family, for sure.”
Gibson said that anyone with information on the case can call 1-800-423-TIPS.
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