Man arrested for 2016 death of Fort Myers woman

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Earl Joiner. (Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office.)
Earl Joiner. (Credit: Polk County Sheriff’s Office.)

In a joint effort, law enforcement agencies were able to crack a 3-year-old cold case in lee County and arrest a man for the death of a young mother.

Earl Antonio Joiner, 33, was arrested Saturday in connection to the 2016 cold case death of 26-year-old Heyzel Obando in Fort Myers.

Joiner was arrested at an auto repair shop in Lake Wales off U.S. 27. Law enforcement had a murder warrant for his arrest.

Fort Myers Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Lake Wales Police Department worked together to arrest Joiner. He faces a charge for second-degree murder.

Obando was originally found dead at her Crestwood Avenue apartment in February 2016.

Joiner was in a relationship with Obando at the time of her death and has a history of arrests but no previous convictions. Both arrests were for battery and domestic violence in 2013.

In 2016, WINK News reported close friends of Obando had immediate skepticism over whether Joiner knew about the cause of Obando’s death. One of Obando’s friends said she would come crying to her because of problems with Joiner at the time.

MORE: Questions mount in death of Fort Myers mother

Recently, producers of the TV series “Cold Justice” picked up her case and partnered with law enforcement agencies. The series just wrapped up the episode focused on Obando’s death investigation.

WINK News Safety and Securty Specialist Rich Kolko said the evidence needed to arrest Joiner was likely already in the hands of FMPD.

“That mean’s the information may have already been in there,” Kolko sais. “But again it just took a fresh set of new eyes. You’ve got to remember that police departments nowadays are overwhelmed.”

MORE: TV show “Cold Justice” looks to help solve Fort Myers cold case

Obando had two young daughters, who were taken into custody by Florida Department of Children and Families at the time of her death.

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