Murder suspect in custody after being found with South Florida Lyft driver’s vehicle

Gary Levin, 74, of Palm Beach Gardens remains missing; son has message for missing father

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – A murder suspect was taken into custody Thursday after he led police on a chase in North Carolina while driving the vehicle of a missing Lyft driver from South Florida, authorities confirmed.

Lindsay DiBetta told West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF that her father, Gary Levin, 74, of Palm Beach Gardens, has been missing since Monday after picking up Lyft riders in his red 2022 Kia Stinger.

An ABC affiliate in North Carolina, WLOS, reported that the suspect was identified as Matthew Scott Flores, who is wanted for murder in Hardee County, Florida.

A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper confirmed to WLOS that Flores was driving a red Kia with Florida tags when he led authorities on a chase.

Earlier report:

After being detained, he was taken to a hospital at his request. He is expected to appear in a North Carolina courtroom on Friday.

Before Thursday’s police chase and arrest, Palm Beach Gardens police had said Levin’s car was last detected Wednesday in Gainesville.

Family members told WPBF the circumstances don’t “add up.”

They said Levin’s car had been previously detected in Miami, Okeechobee County and Sumter County.

“I can’t imagine him going and picking someone up in Miami and then going to Okeechobee? Like that would be, you know, he would let his girlfriend know. They had dinner plans on Monday night, and he never came home. He would let her know, ‘Hey, I’m driving from Palm Beach Gardens to Miami and then to Okeechobee,’” DiBetta told WPBF.

Levin’s son Jonathan also spoke about the search for his father.

“He wouldn’t just on a whim take off and just go somewhere,” Jonathan Levin said. “Dad has been a Lyft driver for years. And it wouldn’t be unusual for him to take fares out of town. But dad is a homebody through and through. He loves sleeping in his own bed.”

Jonathan Levin said his father was in a good place with no known medical issues.

“I spoke to my dad last on Sunday night. He’s a great football fan, and we were jubilant on FaceTime that our Eagles were going to the Super Bowl,” Levin said. “And dad was in a really good place on Monday.”

His message to his father: “I love you, dad.”

Levin remains missing, and authorities have not released details about how they believe Flores obtained his vehicle.

A Lyft spokesperson told WPBF that the company’s thoughts were with Levin’s family and that the company will assist law enforcement with any investigation.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Palm Beach Gardens police at 561-799-4445.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.