Lakeland man charged in 1996 cold case - FOX 13 News

Lakeland man charged in 1996 cold case

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Polk County detectives say they've solved a 16-year cold case.

Deputies have arrested 35-year-old Timothy Carey of Lakeland. He is accused of murdering 37-year-old Tommy Smith and leaving his body in an orange grove in Auburndale in 1996.

According to detectives, a witness finally came forward with important evidence, leading to the arrest. He says he was with the men the night Carey murdered Smith.

Smith's body was found in an orange grove Oct. 11, 1996, near Edison and Berkley roads. His Jeep was also found nearby. The witness told detectives that he, Carey and Smith were together in the Jeep, and then Carey, who was 19 years old at the time, robbed and killed Smith.

The witness also said Carey forced him to drag Smith's body into a field.

Detectives say a .22 caliber rifle was used in the murder, and detectives say they've matched fingerprints in the car to Carey.

He was booked into the Polk County Jail on first degree murder and armed robbery charges. He'll make his first appearance Saturday.

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