“It is disturbing; it is something that’s unsettling to the community when it occurs,” Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre said at a news conference this morning at his office in Bunnell. “We may never know the answer” as to why 25-year-old Joseph Frank Bova II targeted Rosado or Flagler County to execute a 33-year-old mother of six as she worked her shift, alone, at the Mobil Station and convenience store on SR-100, east of I-95.
Details of the crime were released at 11:00 a.m. this morning; but, up until that time, the detectives working the case, and the sheriff himself, have been very tight-lipped about the progress of their investigation.
The first thing investigators had to work with was three spent cartridges recovered from the crime scene. That was on February 21st.
FDLE was able to determine, using forensic techniques in their lab, that the type of weapon used was manufactured by SKKY Industries in Daytona Beach.
A suspicious vehicle was observed on surveillance video in the area between McDonalds and the adjoining car wash. It was seen twice during the day, at one time, the driver, who we now know was Bova, went inside the store and used the ATM machine.
Using the name from the ATM card, a search for retail sales of the specific manufacturer and model handgun, using the information from the spent cartridges, was conducted. That information led to the discovery of the seller, Buck’s Gun Rack in Daytona Beach. That connection uncovered the serial number and specific details about the handgun and Bova.
Seven months later, Bova was located in Boca Raton; and arrested within one day.
The 9mm handgun and clothing that matched what the suspect was wearing at the time of the murder were recovered from Bova’s vehicle when detectives executed a search warrant in Boca Raton.
The sheriff added in his remarks today that CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida had provided “an invaluable tip” that enabled detectives to locate Bova. During the time Bova lived in Bunnell, he was living in an apartment on East Moody Boulevard. When he was found, Bova was living out of his car; a 2007 silver colored Audi.
Manfre also revealed that law enforcement officers in the area had about 400 contacts with Bova for various reasons over time — none of which led to an arrest.
Sheriff Manfre credited the fact that the specific weapon used was less common in the market; making record searches much easier.
Manfre, who was previously a prosecutor in New York State and was sheriff in Flagler County for four years until 2005, described this murder case as one of the “most complicated” he has known in his career.
When asked how certain he was that he had the right person, the sheriff indicated that his confidence was very high. “We have the gun, and that’s what led us to the arrest,” Manfre said this morning.