Man Checked Into Motel After SpaceX Launch. He Didn't Leave

Police searching for suspect in Florida homicide
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2018 11:39 AM CST
Man Murdered During Trip to Watch SpaceX Launch: Cops
Police are looking for this man in connection with a murder this week at a Florida motel.   (Cocoa Police Department)

(Newser) – Terry Hillard arrived in Cocoa, Florida, to watch Tuesday's SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch. A day later he was dead. The Orlando Sentinel reports an employee of the Dixie Motel called 911 on Wednesday morning after finding Hillard's body in his room. The 65-year-old Hillard checked into the motel late Tuesday with the suspect, according to ABC News. It's unclear how Hillard knew the unidentified suspect, who police say may be "a drifter." “We don’t know if it was someone that the victim knew or someone they had just met," Ron McCarron of the Cocoa Police Department tells NBC Miami. "Everything is showing us that they were hanging out together at the hotel and during the time just before the hotel." Relatives of Hillard say they had never seen the suspect before.

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Police spokesperson Yvonne Martinez says the suspect left the motel in Hillard's car before abandoning it. The suspect was last spotted on a gas station security camera early Thursday morning. Martinez says he "could be anywhere," and a nationwide manhunt is underway. “Somebody knows him, somebody has seen him, somebody has gone past him,” McCarron says. While officials aren't saying how Hillard was killed, they're warning the suspect may be armed "due to the nature of the homicide." (Read more murder stories.)

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