BRADENTON, Fla. -
Jazmin Catano, a 30-year-old criminal clerk with the Manatee County Clerk Office was found murdered in her apartment. Within hours of the discovery by her ex-husband, deputies said they had "promising" leads.
Her Facebook page shows Catano changed her profile picture just a few days ago, one of several changes in her life.
The 30-year-old, only a few months ago, started a new job as a criminal clerk for the Manatee County Clerk's office and just days ago, moved in her new place at the Coral Club Apartments on 36th Street West in Bradenton.
"It's just heartbreaking," said her former Palmetto neighbor, a friend of seven years, who did not want her name released.
She fought back tears and her voice trembled as she remembered her friend.
"She was just a loving person, just always around to help. Dedicated to her kids, definitely dedicated to her kids," she said.
It was one her of children, a 12-year-old boy who first learned something bad had happened to his mother. Catano's ex-husband was dropping their son off at around midnight, when he knew something was horribly wrong.
"He gets here, knocks on the door, no one answers. He thinks that is strange," said Dave Bristow, a spokesperson with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. "He calls the victim on her cell phone and it goes right into voicemail."
Officials said her ex-husband then crawled through a window and found Catano in her bedroom.
"We are not going to get into what he saw, but suffice it say he knew something was not right," said Bristow. "He did the right thing. He got out immediately and called 911."
Since then, detectives have scoured Catano's apartment, dusted for fingerprints and collected evidence. Detectives won't say how Catano died, only that she suffered some type of trauma.
Late Monday afternoon, authorities announced that the woman's ex-boyfriend, Andres Collazos is a person of interest. Collazos flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Columbia, South America on Sunday. Detectives do not have an arrest warrant, but want to speak with him.
The news of the murder rattled many residents of her quiet community just blocks away from the IMG Sports Academy and a nearby college.
"It's terrible. If something happened in your neighborhood, wouldn't you feel the same way?" asked Darrel Oliver. "It's scary."
To ease fears, deputies wanted to people to know it was not a random act, and Catano was targeted. It's news that is hard to understand, not only for old friends like her former neighbor, but the many new ones she has made at the Clerk's Office.
"Everyone is devastated," said Christine Clyne, a coworker. Clyne said Catano just started working in the office in January and immediately made close friends. "She was just someone you wanted to talk to. She was so pleasant and upbeat. Extremely smart and just a hard worker just an all around very lovely person to know."
For those who knew her, they hope the person responsible is caught.
"I can't believe someone would do that to her, because she has children. And those children have to live without their mother now," said her neighbor.
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