Mass. teen still missing after officers fatally shoot Florida man wanted in her disappearance

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A Florida man wanted in connection with a Massachusetts teenager’s disappearance was killed while officials were attempting to arrest him, according to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Luis Zaragoza, 37, also known as Luis Barbosa, was killed in Crestview, Florida, last Thursday morning while U.S. Marshals tried to take him into custody.

Jalajhia Finklea, 18, of Mashpee, is still missing after she was last seen getting into Zaragoza’s rented car in New Bedford on Oct. 20, according to the DA’s office.

Finklea’s family said she was 17 years old and five months pregnant when she was allegedly taken. She had also just started a two-step medical procedure at a Boston clinic.

Her family was told if she didn’t finish the procedure, her life would be at risk.

“I just want my kid back. That’s how I’m feeling. I’m feeling angry,” Finklea’s mother said.

The ongoing investigation revealed that Finklea’s cell phone was last used to call Zaragoza shortly before she got into his vehicle. Zaragoza then turned off his own phone and prosecutors found Finklea’s phone discarded on Route 140 five miles away from where she got into the vehicle, the DA’s office said.

Police determined that Zaragoza left Massachusetts and traveled to Florida, then Texas, before returning to Florida. Police obtained surveillance footage of some of the places Zaragoza visited over the past two weeks, according to the DA’s office, but none showed Finklea.

U.S. Marshals were able to locate Zaragoza on Wednesday night and began surveilling him.

New Bedford police then got an arrest warrant for Zaragoza on charges of kidnapping and larceny of a motor vehicle.

New Bedford detectives were on their way to Florida on Thursday as the U.S. Marshal’s office attempted to arrest Zaragoza at a McDonald’s parking lot, the DA’s office said.

Zaragoza was armed with a handgun and died during a confrontation with police. The investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Anyone who has information on Finklea’s whereabouts is asked to contact the New Bedford Police Department Station 3 at (508) 991-6360.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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