South Florida murder suspect found in dead man's blood-stained car
Detectives say Robert Thompson dumped man's body in Wellington
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – When Stanley Parrales didn't come home from work last month, his partner tried calling his cellphone again and again. There was no answer.
Concerned, John Bickley reported Parrales missing.
But Parrales wasn't missing. Parrales was dead.
Robert Thompson was arrested Thursday on a charge of second-degree murder.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies said Thompson killed Parrales, stole his car and credit card and dumped the body in Wellington.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Bickley last spoke to Parrales on the phone Feb. 16. Parrales told Bickley he was on his way home, but he never made it.
The next day, Bickley repeatedly called Parrales' cellphone, but each time it went directly to voice mail.
Three days went by before Bickley called the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to report Parrales missing.
Detectives reviewed Parrales' cellphone records and discovered that he called Thompson on the day of his disappearance.
The next day, Thompson also received a call from Bickley, who wanted to know if he had seen Parrales. Thompson said he last saw him the night before at the Old Key Lime House in Lantana.
Detectives also discovered that Parrales' credit card had been used on Feb. 17 to make several large purchases at a Walmart and an AutoZone in Palm Springs. When detectives reviewed surveillance video from the Walmart, Thompson could be seen using the credit card, but Parrales was nowhere to be found, Detective Sean Oliver wrote in the probable cause affidavit.
Thompson was also seen on surveillance video using the credit card at a Taco Bell and a gas station, where he was seen pumping gas in Parrales' Infiniti, Oliver wrote.
When detectives went to question Thompson on Feb. 27 about Parrales' disappearance, they found him sitting in the driver's seat of the Infiniti, which was parked in the driveway of a home on Plantation Lane, Oliver wrote.
During a recorded interview with detectives, Thompson said Parrales picked him up in West Palm Beach on the evening of Feb. 16 and took him to the Old Key Lime House, where they had drinks.
Thompson said Parrales gave him the keys to the Infiniti and let him use the car while Parrales stayed behind to meet someone else, Oliver wrote.
"Thompson was told that there was video surveillance evidence showing him using Parrales's credit card," Oliver said. "Thompson then changed his statement and claimed Parrales gave him credit cards to use."
Detectives got a warrant to search the Infiniti and found a large concentration of blood by the trunk, Oliver wrote.
"There were several areas on the top and side of a rubber mat in the rear storage area that tested positive for blood," Oliver wrote. "There was also evidence that an attempt to clean blood from the cloth area of the rear storage compartment was done."
Detectives also found clothing in the car that matched what Thompson had been seen wearing on surveillance video at the gas station, Oliver wrote.
In an interview with detectives, George Pagan, a childhood friend of Thompson's, claimed Thompson showed up at his house unexpectedly one night. He said Thompson was driving an Infiniti and had blood on his forearm.
"Thompson asked for bleach to clean the inside of the car," Pagan told detectives, Oliver wrote.
Pagan said Thompson told him that he got into an argument with someone "and may have killed the person," Oliver wrote.
"Thompson further said he dumped the body in Wellington," Oliver said Pagan told detectives.
DNA evidence from Parrales' toothbrush matched the blood found in the car, Oliver wrote.
Detectives executed a warrant to collect a DNA sample from Thompson, who admitted that he cleaned the car at Pagan's house.
"Thompson claimed he was cleaning grease from inside the car," Oliver wrote, but Thompson refused to answer any questions when he was confronted about Parrales' blood being found in the car.
DNA evidence also confirmed that the blood found on Thompson's shorts in the Infiniti was from Parrales.
Detectives had enough evidence to link Thompson to Parrales' death, but they still didn't have a body.
That changed Wednesday, when a fisherman discovered a badly decomposed body near the Southern Boulevard canal in Wellington, sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.
The remains were positively identified as those of Parrales.
Investigators haven't revealed how Parrales died, but the manner of death was ruled a homicide.
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