No murder charge for St. Pete man arrested after body found in burned car

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man has been arrested months after a body was found in a burned-out car on the Skyway Trail, Gulfport police said.

Andy Rozell Bryant, 34, of St. Petersburg, is facing charges of arson and abuse of a dead human body, according to an arrest report. Police said they declined to file murder charges for lack of evidence.

In September of last year, police said a bicyclist found a car on fire on the Skyway Trail portion of the Pinellas County Trail near the Twin Brooks Golf Course. Inside the trunk were the remains of the car owner, 55-year-old Jesus Manuel Tavarez-Soto. Police said the man’s body was burned beyond recognition.

An autopsy could not determine his cause of death, but there was no sign of trauma, police said.

“Homicide charges were not brought against Bryant because the investigation, coupled with the autopsy and toxicology reports, did not support that charge,” police said in the report.

(Gulfport Police/Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

Police said Bryant had confessed to finding the victim’s body, putting it in the trunk and setting the car on fire.

He was arrested Wednesday and is being held in a Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.

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