UPDATE: Authorities want to speak to a man in connection with the homicide that occurred in an east Manatee orange grove. Detectives have developed a person of interest in the case.
Detectives want to talk to the victim’s former boyfriend, Joel Ramirez, or Joel Ramirez-Hernandez. Ramirez didn’t show up at his job as a farmworker in Hardee County on Thursday.
The woman whose body that was discovered Wednesday evening in a grove near the
42000 block of State Road 62 in eastern Manatee County has been identified as Maria Moralez,42, of Bowling Green, according to the
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
A co-worker reportedly discovered her body and called 911. The victim was last seen in the grove earlier in the day, a report states.
According to the report, Moralez was found deceased in a tractor in the middle of a orange grove after she didn't return to the company barn at her usual time.
Detectives with the Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit arrived around 6 p.m., they discovered that the victim died as a result of upper body trauma resulting from a gunshot.
Moralez was a single mother of five children and lived in Hardee County.
Detectives have ruled the incident as a homicide.
Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to call MCSO at 941-747-3011 ext. 2159 or report the crime anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.