Man located with stolen truck in Hillsborough Co. hours after murdering ex-boyfriend in Deltona, deputies say

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TAMPA (WFLA) — A Central Florida man has been charged for murdering his ex-boyfriend with a blunt object before fleeing across the state to Tampa in a stolen construction truck, deputies said.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Victor M. Mercado, 24, Saturday morning for allegedly killing his boyfriend, 56-year-old Vincent Patterson, in his Deltona home.

According to the sheriff’s office, Mercado had already been arrested and in jail in Hillsborough County after stealing a construction/work truck in Sanford and driving it to Tampa. A second-degree murder charge was added to Mercado’s list of charges a couple days later.

According to detectives, Patterson was discovered by his father Thursday afternoon at his home in Deltona. Patterson was reportedly in his bed, unresponsive, and in an advancing stage of decomposition. Deputies responded to the home and found trauma to Patterson’s head and blood spatter on the bedroom walls. A note was also found written on one of the walls. Mercado later admitted to police that he wrote the note to “cover up his actions.”

Detectives were eventually able to locate a few witnesses that helped piece together the timeline of events before and after Patterson’s death.

Detectives learned that Mercado and Patterson were dating, and Mercado had been living with Patterson at his house. Two days before Patterson was found by his father, his vehicle was found crashed and abandoned on I-4 in Seminole County. Deputies tried to contact Patterson at his house, but no one answered the door.

On Tuesday, after Patterson’s car was found on I-4, Mercado reportedly reached out to a friend for a ride, saying Patterson kicked him out of the car as they were driving back to Deltona. Mercado’s friend did not help him, but Mercado showed up at her residence later that morning “inexplicably driving an industrial-sized construction truck.”

Detectives said Mercado told his friend he needed help getting rid of the construction truck because he had stolen it that morning after being abandoned on I-4. The friend again refused to help him. Mercado was located and arrested while driving the truck in Hillsborough County 9:30 that night.

The sheriff’s office learned the work truck was stolen around 5 a.m. Tuesday from The Briar Team in Sanford.

Volusia County detectives traveled to Hillsborough County to interview Mercado about Patterson’s death.

Mercado reportedly admitted to police that he killed Patterson, who recently broke up with him. Mercado reportedly told detectives he killed Patterson early Tuesday morning while he slept. He also admitted to stealing and crashing Patterson’s car on I-4 then fleeing to Tampa in a stolen work truck.

Mercado is being held without bond in Hillsborough County.

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