Lake Wales Police searching for violent man seen stabbing another man, then driving away with him

Police don't know if victim is dead or alive

LAKE WALES, Fla. - Officers are searching for a Frostproof man who witnesses say repeatedly stabbed another man, and then shoved him into his car and took off.

They don't know who the victim is, or if he's dead or alive.

Lake Wales Police identified the attacker as Steven Rios -- a man with an extensive criminal history who recently served a year in prison for burglary.

Detectives went door to door Monday in the Lake Wales neighborhood where it happened, searching for more clues and witnesses.

Police say two men witnessed Rios violently attack the man, who is estimated to be in his mid 30's.

The witnesses told police when they tried to help, Rios turned and threatened them and their families if they went to police.

Investigators say that's why the men didn't report the incident until 12 hours after it happened.

"It was a small get together, and they're having a beer, and it turned violent at one point and no one knows why," said Lt. David Black with the Lake Wales Police Department.

"They were there together, they seemed to be getting along, and an argument broke out or something. We don't know what it was over."

Monday afternoon, people near the crime scene started to rethink their decision to live in the neighborhood.

"Makes me want to go back to North Carolina. I was up in the country in the mountains and it was safe," said Tammy Blume, who just moved to Polk County a couple of months ago.

Jerry Patterson told us a group of men routinely hang out under the tent in the driveway near where it happened.

He figures one of them got carried away.

"Every time I go buy groceries in the evening, say around 6 or 7 o'clock, they would be out there drinking and cooking out, stuff like that," he said. "It's still shocking that it's right next door. So close to you."

After this weekend's violent attack, investigators consider Rios armed and dangerous.

"Please don't approach him. Keep eyes on him if at all possible and call law enforcement," Lt. Black said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now assisting Lake Wales Police in locating Rios.

He was seen putting the victim in a gray 2010 Hyundai Sonata, with a Florida license plate of 114 NBA.

The victim is described as a thin, black male, approximately six feet tall.

If your friends, family, or neighbors meet this description you're asked to call police.

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