Police: Tampa woman brutally murdered elderly neighbor with machete

TAMPA, Fla. — A 21-year-old woman has been arrested after admitting to brutally murdering her 74-year-old neighbor with a machete, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Police said on Sunday, September 2nd they received a call, shortly after 10 p.m., from a concerned neighbor requesting a welfare check on Eddie Quezada, 74, at his home on E Liberty St.

According to police records, there were no obvious signs of forced entry. After finding blood on the door's exterior, police and fire personnel entered the home. Just inside the front door, they found Quezada's body. The victim's body had multiple, deep cuts to the face, chest and back.  

Once inside the home, police found Quezada dead with multiple lacerations to his upper body. With a search warrant, officers searched the home and found blood spatter on the walls, doors and ceiling. The report lists the evidence as "indicative of the victim having sustained multiple strikes from a sharp-edged weapon while the victim was alive and moving. In on the of the bedrooms, they found a machete with a 26-inch long blade.

The bloody shoe impression and droplets indicated the suspect searched portions of the house. Investigators found opened boxes, ripped envelopes and scattered personal paperwork.

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During their investigation, they were led to Quezada's neighbor, Sarah Martinez, 21, who in the past had borrowed money from him and had asked him for help in getting a job. Martinez also worked at the same company as Quezada for a short period of time, earlier this year.

On the machete, examiners were able to match a fingerprint to Martinez. Officers met with Martinez and noticed visible cuts on her hands that were in the process of healing. 

Initially, Martinez provided police with inconsistent explanations of what happened but ultimately admitted to striking Quezada with a machete. According to arrest documents, Martinez claimed she blacked out and denied searching his home for anything but "a change of clothes." Martinez told police the victim was still alive when she walked through his home and that the victim was alive when she left. 

Martinez was arrested on Thursday, September 6. She is charged with first-degree murder, armed burglary and attempted robbery with a deadly weapon. The motive remains unclear.

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