Lehigh Acres men arrested for murder and arson

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Donovan Baker, Andrew Maldonado and Neville Bethune. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Erie County Sheriff”s Office.

New details in a murder case led detectives to a community in Lehigh Acres. Three suspects are now accused of killing a man in Palm Beach County.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Donovan Baker and Andrew Maldonado Thursday in connection with the murder Neville Bethune was arrested for last week.

All three are accused of working together to kill James Payne, 25, of Orlando. Palm Beach County deputies said the three men put Payne’s body in the trunk of a car and set it on fire. Deputies say Payne was burned beyond recognition.

Bethune and Maldanado face charges for First Degree Murder and First Degree Arson, and Baker faces a charge for First Degree Arson.

SWAT crews responded to a Lehigh Acres neighborhood last week in search of Bethune. His mother answered the door but didn’t say anything else to law enforcement. Her home is still boarded up since SWAT responded.

Neighbors said U.S. marshals were at a home in the Lehigh neighborhood Wednesday in search of Maldonado. No one was there today, but neighbors said Maldonado’s girlfriend moved overnight with her seven kids.

Investigators arrested Maldonado 1,300 miles away near Buffalo New York. Maldonado is in custody in Buffalo.

Baker and Bethune are both in Lee County Jail.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.