POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Two teenage brothers wanted in connection with the murder of a 21-year old man, whose body was found in a Florida orange grove Tuesday, were arrested Saturday evening.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 18-year-old Angel Lobato and his brother, 19-year-old Jo “JoJo” Lobato, both from Lake Wales.
The Lobato brothers had warrants for crimes they committed during the suspicious disappearance of 21-year-old Danne Frazier.
Frazier was reported missing to the Lakeland Police Department around noon on Nov. 4. The 21-year-old’s mother reported to LPD that he got off work from the Publix warehouse in Lakeland around 2 a.m. that morning, but had not been answering his phone all day. She also reported suspicious activity on his bank account later that day.
During the missing person investigation, LPD detectives identified the Lobato brothers as persons of interest in Frazier’s disappearance in relation to the suspicious bank activity.
When Frazier was still considered a missing person, his car was spotted by Flagler County deputies the night of Nov. 6.
When deputies pulled the vehicle over, the driver, JoJo Lobato, ran away. Angel was in the passenger’s seat. Angel denied knowing who was driving the car.
Flagler deputies contacted LPD and informed them that they had possession of Frazier’s car and gave them Angel’s name.
Polk County deputies say Frazier’s body was later found on Nov. 10 under brush in an orange grove on Helicopter Road in Lake Wales just 150 feet off the roadway by a man who was hired to survey the property. Deputies say Frazier’s body appeared to have suffered extreme trauma. An autopsy later performed showed he had a skull fracture and a broken piece of knife blade in his neck.
His car was turned over to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the case became a homicide investigation.
Crime scene investigators processed the car and found several spots of blood both inside and outside. The glass on the driver’s side was cracked, and more blood and some of the victim’s clothing was found inside the trunk, according to PCSO.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said PCSO detectives developed probable cause to arrest the Lobato brothers in the theft of Frazier’s car, among other related crimes.
On Nov. 14, PCSO received an anonymous tip that the Lobato brothers were inside a truck parked at the Advanced Auto Parts store on State Road 60 in Lake Wales. Deputies arrived to the store and took both brothers into custody.
After their arrests, they confessed to a coordinated and planned attack which including robbing and then killing Frazier.
“They confessed and their confession is absolutely horrific,” Judd said. “Their confession was how proud they were.”
According to an affidavit, JoJo and Angel said due to their homelessness and finanical status, they were looking to “hit a lick” to obtain money or a vehicle and decided Frazier would be an easy target.
Judd said the brothers had “planned this murder for about three weeks.” It started with JoJo communicating with Frazier on social media, pretending he wanted a relationship with Frazier, and then planning to meet up with Frazier once he got off work.
JoJo told deputies he arranged the meet up in the Central Park area located in Winter Haven. Once Frazier said he was on the way, Angel armed himself with a metal bat and hid behind a tree and waited for JoJo and Frazier to arrive in Frazier’s car, according to PCSO.
Deputies say JoJo told Frazier to park by Lake Howard and “distracted” Frazier by wanting to kiss him and then tried choking him. The arrest affidavit mentioned Frazier began to fight back and attempted to “tase” JoJo.
Judd said as JoJo choked Frazier, Angel hit the driver’s window with a metal bat to unlock and get inside the car. Angel hit Frazier several times in the head with the bat and was also cut in the neck with a knife by JoJo.
Deputies say the brothers then loaded Frazier’s body into the car and drove him to the Lake Wales area where they dumped his body.
“When we interviewed them, they were pure evil in the flesh. They bragged about it, they talked about how, you know, they’d have street cred. They’d have their stripes. They’d be respected on the streets because they’d done this murder,” Judd said. “They were gleeful. They were very excited, it was euphoric. The detectives said it was unbelievable their attitude during the interview. It wasn’t ‘oh no, I’m caught. This is bad, I shouldn’t have done it.’ No remorse. They were bragging about, bragging. Well, we’re bragging about putting them in jail too and we’re real happy about that.”
“Danne was just a good kid and this was all a ruse,” Judd said. “My heart goes out to Danne’s family. They raised a good young man and he didn’t deserve this. And certainly, on behalf of the family, we’re going to do a complete and thorough investigation and I want Danne’s family to know that we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they’re locked up and they can look outside of prison bars for the rest of their life.”
“We are happy that they where caught. Our son didn’t deserve to have his life taken away,” a statement from Frazier’s family read. “He didn’t bother anyone. We can now lay our son to rest at peace knowing that they’re off the streets. And justice will be served for what they have done to our son. They took away part of our hearts.”
“At some point, them living down there, things just took a turn for the worse. They never seemed normal. They seemed like they were always on edge with things,” said Ricky Lobatto, the accused killers’ older brother, about his brothers’ return to Polk County.
Lobatto carries guilt for not reaching out and helping his younger brothers who he knew were on a downward spiral.
“I wish I wouldn’t have given up. I wish I would have kept fighting. I wish I would have actually did something for them,” he said.
Lobatto knew Danne Frazier from school and spoke with him from time to time on social media.
He had a message for Frazier’s family.
“I’m sorry. If I could have stopped it, I would, I really would. There’s nothing I can do at this point but pray that your grief doesn’t last forever,” he said.
The brothers have been booked into the Polk County Jail on the following charges:
- First-degree murder (no bond)
- Armed robbery (no bond)
- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder (no bond)
- Accessory after the fact of a capital felony ($30,000 bond)
- Giving false information during a capital investigation ($5,000 bond)
- Grand theft of a motor vehicle ($5,000 bond)
- 2 counts tampering with evidence ($5,000 bond each)
- Burglary of a vehicle ($5,000 bond)
“We’re going to do everything in our power along with our great state attorney’s office to see that they never breath another breathe of air outside of prison,” Judd said.
Neither brother had a prior criminal record, according to Judd.
Sheriff Judd said 19-year-old Scott Engle was also arrested on Nov. 12 for the following charges:
- Accessory after the fact of a capital felony ($50,000 bond)
- Tampering with evidence ($15,000 bond)
- Grand theft of a motor vehicle ($1,000 bond)
- 2 counts criminal use of personal ID ($1,000 bond each)
- Possession of a stolen credit card ($1,000 bond)
Engle, in addition to the brothers, was seen on surveillance video using Frazier’s credit cards. After he was arrested, deputies say Engle told detectives that the brothers picked him up in a car he did not know around 7 p.m. on Nov. 4. They told him it was a rental car, although he knew they don’t have jobs or money.
Engle told detectives that they drove around attempting to withdraw money from ATM machines with Frazier’s cards, according to PCSO.
He told detectives he saw blood inside the car, and noticed the back seats were wet, the sheriff’s office said. He is seen on video surveillance washing the car at a self-serve car wash.
Engle is currently on active juvenile probation out of Polk County for grand theft and possession of a weapon or ammo by a convicted felon. His criminal history includes arrests dating back to 2013 for charges such as burglary, larceny, dealing in stolen property, sale of a firearm to a minor, trespassing, criminal mischief, possession of marijuana, violation of probation, failure to appear.
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