COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - Deputies in Columbia County say they have made a third arrest in the murder of a local man.
Cody James Bartosek, 28, of Lake City, was arrested shortly after midnight at a Super 8 motel he was staying in.
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The search is on for a person of interest linked to what investigators are calling the “planned” murder of a 29-year-old man.
Two other people have been arrested and are facing multiple charges in connection with the murder of Steven McGee.
“This was truly a shocker for our community,” said Sgt. Murray Smith, spokesperson for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Neighbors who were walking their dog found McGee’s remains Monday just off of Old Spanish Road in Fort White.
“It was found wrapped in a tarp and the tarp had been bungeed closed,” said Smith.
Five days later, detectives arrested 42-year-old Dashan Lewis and 22-year-old Danielle Cianelli.
Deputies say the quick arrests were all thanks to the community coming forward.
But investigators are still searching for a third person who they’re calling a person of interest.
“We’re not releasing that name yet because we’re going to be working with our federal partners. We believe that person has left the area,” said Smith.
According to the police report, McGee was shot to death at a home near where his body was dumped.
The report states search warrants of Lewis’ home and vehicle yielded the possible murder weapon, as well as blood, drugs, an altered firearm and other evidence.
“We got troves and troves of evidence,” said Smith.
The arrest report goes on to say people McGee knew “came forward stating they were paid to lure the victim to a store to be picked up by Lewis” and another person.
But it’s unclear who paid the individuals.
“Some type of altercation, of argument ensued and he was shot,” said Smith.
Cianelli is facing several charges, including accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence.
The news spread fast in the quiet and small community of Columbia County.
Beverly Ashe said this is just not common in her neighborhood.
“I’m happy to hear that they’ve gotten some arrests taken care of,” said Ashe.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said the motive remains under investigation.
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