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Man arrested in murder Antonio Rangel found along Pasco road

3:46 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida -- Pasco County Sheriff's deputies say they've made an arrest in the murder investigation of a 20-year-old man found on the side of a Pasco County road Wednesday morning.

Investigators were alerted to the scene when a passerby saw the body of recent Gulf High graduate Antonio Rangel just before 8 a.m. along Moon Lake Road, near Caton Avenue.

Detectives say Rangel suffered several injuries including lacerations to his upper body and a large puncture wound to his chest.

During a search of Rangel's cell phone which was found next to him, along with the murder weapon, detectives saw he had exchanged text messages with a man named Tom discussing a meetup for a drug transaction.

Detectives linked that number to Thomas Lesher who also lived about 2,000 feet from where Rangel's body was found.

During the investigation, detectives learned Rangel's car was missing and around 3 p.m. Wednesday, his car was found in the same neighborhood where his body was found. The vehicle was unlocked and still had the keys in the ignition and a large amount of blood was found inside.

Late last night, around 10:15 p.m., a deputy made contact with Lesher at his home on Imperial Oaks Drive and he reportedly admitted to the deputy that the drug transaction with Rangel took place. He also admitted to stabbing Rangel several times during the altercation over the drugs, taking his car and fleeing the scene.

Lesher said he went home and got rid of his bloody clothing. He then brought deputies to a wooded area near his home where they recovered the clothing.

Lesher was arrested for second degree murder.

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