The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is requesting help from the public in locating the whereabouts of a man who was caught on video quickly leaving the scene of a car that was found engulfed in flames in Brandon. The car belonged to Samuel Ortiz who’s body was found in the garage of a vacant home in New York.

WHEC News 10 reported that Samuel Ortiz, 39, was found dead in a garage on Saturday just before 4:30 p.m. A landlord called police after they smelled a foul odor in a vacant home. Police say Ortiz’s body was badly decomposed.

Ortiz was last seen in the area of East Avenue and Alexander Street on July 7 around 2:30 a.m.

Ortiz’s 2009 Blue Chevy Equinox was located on the 800 block of Russell Lane in Brandon, Florida, a suburb of Tampa, on July 9 at 12:30 a.m. where it had been set on fire.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Rochester Police Department to identify a man seen on video who could be linked to the disappearance of Samuel Ortiz.

Detectives have released a surveillance video showing a man who was in the area at the time of the vehicle fire:

Anyone who recognizes the man seen on video is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200. In order to be eligible for a cash reward, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at or send a mobile tip using our P3 Tips Mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones, iPads and Droids.

You must call Crime Stoppers first to be eligible for a reward.


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