Detectives investigating death of Del Monte worker found dead near Duette

MANATEE -- Detectives are investigating the death of a Puerto Rico native who recently relocated to Polk County with his job for Del Monte Foods and whose body was found in a rural part Manatee County.

Manuel Galindo-Oquendo, 32, of Mulberry, was found by a local resident at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the side of Davis Grade Road, several miles from State Road 62, near Duette in eastern Manatee County. Galindo-Oquendo's body showed obvious signs of trauma and his death is being treated as a homicide, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Initial observation by investigators estimate that the victim was killed Wednesday. An autopsy was conducted Friday afternoon.

Detectives are actively working leads to find who killed Galindo-Oquendo and a search for his vehicle is under way. A "be on the lookout" alert was issued for his 2001 silver Chrysler PT Cruiser with Florida tag DVPW70.

"We would encourage anyone to come forward who has information," Detective John Kenney said. "He was obviously left in a very rural area attempting to conceal the body."

Detectives from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Homicide Investigative Unit are in Polk County looking for past associates and relationships, according to Kenney, who is

lead investigator on the case. The unit is working with the Polk County Sheriff's Office on the case.

Galindo-Oquendo, a father of three, recently moved from Virginia about two months ago through his job at Del Monte after he was recruited from Puerto Rico.

"The mother is pretty devastated," Kenney said.

A phone call to her was not returned.

Galindo-Oquendo has an arrest history in Polk County. After a routine traffic stop Feb. 10, Galindo-Oquendo was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Detectives are unaware of any positive motive for his killing, Kenney said.

Anyone with any information should can call Manatee County Sheriff's Office Detective John Kenney at 941-747-3011 Ext. 2216 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.