Burglary Investigation/Death Investigation (Drowning)
RELEASED BY: LT CHERYL TRAINER
CASE # 17-81488
Location: Hawthorne Dr – Ballard Park Subdivision
Date and Time: 12/09/2017 4:37 AM
On December 9, 2017, Melbourne Police Officers were dispatched to an in progress/occupied residential burglary on Hawthorne Dr in the Ballard Park Subdivision. Upon arrival, Melbourne officers engaged in a foot chase of a suspect and they were assisted by a West Melbourne officer and K-9. While attempting to evade capture, the suspect entered the Eau Gallie River (area west of Ballard Park). The suspect, who was several feet from the river’s edge, refused to cooperate with officers who were ordering him out of the water. The suspect then began to swim west out into the middle of the river, but shortly thereafter was heard yelling for help and was seen by officers going under the water. In spite of the inclement weather and dropping temperature, two officers immediately removed their gear and jumped into the river to attempt a rescue of the suspect. Unfortunately, in spite of their efforts, the suspect could not be located.
The Melbourne Police Department Dive Recovery Team, Marine Unit, jet-ski’s, and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office helicopter were deployed for an extensive area search. The area where the suspect disappeared is being dredged and the dive team encountered numerous underwater obstacles during the search.
On December 11, 2017, at 10:07 AM, our police department responded to the same area regarding a floating body. Again, the Melbourne PD Dive Recovery Team and Marine Unit responded to the scene, this time with Crime Scene Technicians and Detectives. The body of a deceased black male was recovered and turned over to the Brevard County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The deceased person found in the water near Ballard Park on Monday, December 11, was identified as 23 year old Rico Malique Arocha of Sebastian. Arocha had been reported missing since Friday, December 8, 2017 after he reportedly came to Melbourne to go fishing. Mr. Arocha’s family and the Sebastian Police Department were notified.
As with any case involving a death where there was involvement with police officers the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been requested to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.
This investigation is ongoing. The Melbourne Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is asking any potential witnesses who may have relevant information on this case contact Detective Ian Mitchell at (321) 608-6452.
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