Andrew Gant, Office of Media Relations & Public Affairs
VCSO Charges 3 Suspects With Murder in Cold-Blooded Execution of Carlos Cruz-Echevarria
After nearly a yearlong Volusia County Sheriff's Office investigation that centered on the use of technology as an investigative tool, the criminals responsible for the brutal 2017 execution of Deltona resident Carlos Cruz-Echevarria have been charged in the death of the 60-year-old Good Samaritan who was shot in cold blood while unknowingly offering help to his killer.
Today, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and members of the VCSO Major Case Unit are announcing the arrests of Benjamin Jaquaric Antonio Bascom (trigger man, age 24, DOB 9/23/1993), Kelsey Terrance McFoley (ordered the murder, age 28, DOB 1/17/1990) and Melissa Rios Roque (McFoley’s girlfriend and accomplice, age 21, 3/21/1997) on charges of first-degree murder in a tragic case that was revealed to be a planned execution to prevent Mr. Cruz-Echevarria from testifying as a victim in a road rage case.
Cruz-Echevarria was murdered the evening of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2017, at the intersection of Malaga Avenue and Puritan Street in Deltona, near his home. He was found dead near a disabled vehicle that was stuck in the grass along the road. Cruz-Echevarria’s own vehicle, a truck, was unaccounted for, but later found burned out in south Apopka. The disabled vehicle at the scene was determined to be stolen out of Orange County. Based on the evidence available at the outset of the investigation, it initially appeared Cruz-Echevarria was shot and killed for his truck after he attempted to help move the disabled vehicle out of the grass. Detectives working the case would soon discover there was more to it than that.
The leads pursued by detectives were numerous, but some of the most crucial evidence turned out to be phone record data from the area of the shooting and the area where the truck was found in Apopka. This data led detectives to several persons of interest, including Bascom, whose cell number was in both Deltona and Apopka during the timeframe of the incidents. Bascom was also linked to the disabled vehicle via DNA evidence. Bascom’s phone records provided detectives with a good investigative lead which made it clear that he was the one who pulled the trigger, killing Cruz-Echevarria. Analysis of the records revealed evidence that on the day of the homicide, both Bascom and McFoley were talking on the phone with each other. Specifically, McFoley was giving Bascom instructions on how to carry out the murder.
Detectives then obtained phone records for McFoley which implicated his girlfriend, Rios-Roque, when the two of them spoke about the execution and planning to pick up Bascom after the shooting.
Detectives believe what motivated McFoley to have Cruz-Echevarria killed was a road rage incident that happened about six months earlier, on May 2, 2017. That afternoon, while stopped at a red light at a Deltona intersection, Cruz-Echevarria was in his vehicle behind McFoley, who didn’t proceed through the intersection when the light turned green. Cruz-Echevarria honked and passed McFoley, who later pulled up next to him at another intersection, asked if he had a problem, pulled a gun out of his glove box and pointed it at him. Cruz-Echevarria was subsequently able to get McFoley’s tag number and reported the incident to law enforcement. While McFoley was not immediately identified as the suspect, by the end of the month, a VCSO detective was able to determine he was the driver, and Cruz-Echevarria was able to identify his picture.
On June 1, McFoley was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and improper exhibition of a firearm. At the time, a criminal history check showed he had 29 previous felony charges with one conviction and 9 previous misdemeanors with 3 convictions. The previous charges included robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His criminal history meant his latest charges carried the potential for significant prison time if he was convicted.
On Oct. 23, McFoley’s defense attorney filed a notice of deposition that listed Cruz-Echevarria’s home address in Deltona and indicated Cruz-Echevarria was scheduled to appear for his deposition on Dec. 7, 2017.
Bascom was arrested Wednesday by members of the Orlando Police Department at Orlando International Airport, where he had a one-way ticket to Texas. McFoley and Rios-Roque were each arrested Tuesday. McFoley was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Service Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force while working for a moving company in Orlando. Rios-Roque was arrested by VCSO detectives on Interstate 4 in Volusia County.
On behalf of Carlos Cruz-Echevarria – who was an Army veteran and a family member of a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office civilian employee – it is the hope of the VCSO family that the justice system holds accountable all those who played a role in his senseless death.
“I can’t think of a more heinous, sickening act than what happened to Carlos,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “This tragedy cost our community a good man who was loved by his family and respected by his neighbors. I know that because I have heard about the kind of man he was. I also know what kind of man took him from his family: A pathetic coward who deserves to spend the rest of his life in a cage. My heart is with Carlos’ family and friends and everyone in the VCSO family who played a role in bringing these murderers to justice.”