74-Year-Old Lyft Driver Found Dead in Florida, Person of Interest Arrested in North Carolina

Gary Levin, white man smiling
Facebook/Lindsay DiBetta

Gary Levin’s last known location was in Okeechobee, Florida, where he ended a Lyft ride.

A missing 74-year-old Lyft driver has been found dead, according to his daughter. 

Gary Levin was reported missing on Jan. 31 by his daughter, Lindsay DiBetta, after she shared on Facebook that his phone was turned off after doing a Lyft pickup on Jan. 30. 

“We believe it was local to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Since then his phone has been turned off and we have lost all communication with him. If anyone knows my dad they know that he is never without his technology,” DiBetta wrote. 

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released on Facebook Saturday they found the remains of an adult male in the area but could not confirm the identity. 

Then on Tuesday, the Sheriff’s office posted a statement that they identified the remains found, but could not publicly make the identity known, though they had notified the victim’s family. 

Just two hours before police posted the statement, DiBetta posted an update on her Facebook confirming that her father had been found dead. 

“I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for the outpouring love and prayers throughout this nightmare situation. At this time my family and I are asking for privacy so we can process the unfortunate information we have received, DiBetta wrote

Levin last known location was Okeechobee, Florida, where he ended a Lyft ride, according to WESH 2. Police told the outlet that a man they identified as Matthew Flores led police on a chase while driving Levin's car. The chase ended in North Carolina, where authorities arrested Flores, the outlet reported. 

Flores, 35, was originally wanted by the Wauchula Police in connection to the murder of Jose Carlos Martinez on Jan. 24, according to the Wauchula Police. He faces multiple charges in both North Carolina and Florida, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said. Flores is being held at the Rutherford County Detention Center on no bond for his parole violation and on a $615,000 secured bond for charges he faces connected to the Martinez case, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators are working to determine how Flores allegedly encountered Levin. Flores did not request a ride through Lyft, the company told WESH 2. Flores has been classified as a person of interest in Levin's disappearance but has not been charged in connection to the Levin case, Florida State Attorney Thomas Bakkedahl told WPTV-TV.

Related Stories