Couple arrested, face judge in Lehigh Acres homicide

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Aria Armstead and Nathan Ortiz (Photos via Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. Two people arrested in connection with killing a 31-year-old man and burying his body faced a judge Sunday morning, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Aria Armstead, 20, Nathan Ortiz, 21, were arrested Saturday and both face a charge of tampering with physical evidence, according to the sheriff’s office. Armstead also faces a charge of one count of second-degree murder, and Ortiz faces an additional charge of accessory after the fact.

Armstead received a $950,000 bond for both charges. Unless she’s accompanied by law enforcement, Armstead cannot return to 59th Street West and Vera Avenue North, 5901 Sally Avenue North, 5902 Sally Avenue North or any places where there might be evidence. Armstead is also prohibited from contact with Ortiz.

Ortiz received a $500,000 bond for both charges, but will be held without bond on a previous diversion case. His next court appearance for the diversion case will be at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Matthew Eugene Collins was last seen around 5 p.m. Oct. 12 after leaving his house to get a hair cut in a 2015 red Chrysler 200, the sheriff’s office said. Collins’ girlfriend received a text message showing he was in North Fort Myers, but later reported him missing on Oct. 13 after she was unable to make further contact with him.

Collins’ vehicle was recovered with blood in the car and a bullet hole in the front windshield on Oct. 18 in Lehigh Acres, but Collins whereabouts were unknown, the sheriff’s office said.

Remains were later found in a shallow grave in a heavily wooded lot on the 5900 block of Sally Avenue North, which was was also across the street from Armstead and Ortiz’s home. The sheriff’s office determined the information derived from the investigation linked Armstead and Ortiz to the crime.

Armstead and Ortiz’s next court appearances are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 27.

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