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Boyfriend wanted after Lakeland woman stabbed to death | Crime

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Boyfriend wanted after Lakeland woman stabbed to death

Lakeland, Florida - Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff's Office continue to search for the boyfriend of a 33-year-old Lakeland woman whose body was discovered Monday afternoon, about 50 yards behind her home along Pathfinder Trail in Lakeland.

The body of Diana Mercado was found in a wooded area thick with brush. She was wrapped up and lying on the ground. As a result of the Medical Examiner's autopsy, detectives have learned that she was stabbed numerous times and had broken ribs.  

Photo Gallery: Woman stabbed to death, boyfriend sought

Investigators are looking for her boyfriend known by an alias, Antonio Vasquez. His real name is Jarol Santiago and he is 40 years old. 

Detectives say he has an extensive criminal history out of Massachusetts including arrests for Assault/Battery with a Knife, Attempted Murder, Assault, Assault/Battery with a Weapon, along with other traffic, drug, and "non-violent" charges.

Authorities say they were not aware of Santiago's true identity until after more details were provided by Mercado's family. He has now been named a person of interest in Diana's murder.

An Aggravated Assault warrant for Santiago's arrest has been issued regarding an incident related by family members, who said several weeks ago Santiago threatened Mercado with a knife.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office asks that if anyone knows the whereabouts of Jarol Santiago to contact the Sheriff's Office at 863-296-6200.


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