Search warrant reveals forensic evidence in missing Polk County man's probable homicide

LAKELAND, Fla. - One of the suspects who Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd believes murdered Ethan Fussell will remain in jail on half-a-million-dollars bond.

Talon Page was in court Tuesday afternoon for his first appearance. According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Page killed his best friend, 21-year-old Fussell, in his home in early May, along with the help of his co-defendant, Adonai Rivera.

Fussell was last seen the night of May 7 on Driggers Road in north Lakeland where he was staying at the time with Page.

"We have every reason to believe at this point that Ethan Fussell is a victim of murder," said Judd.

According to the arrest affidavit, a search warrant was executed on the home where Fussell's blood was found in the living room including on a couch, loveseat, and portions of the carpet. There was one section of the carpet that had been cut and removed and wasn't located.

A Bissell carpet cleaner in the laundry room also tested positive for Fussell's blood.

<div>Pictured: Ethan Fussell</div>
Pictured: Ethan Fussell

"We know that there was an argument, according to witnesses, between Talon and Ethan, and we believe it was over either money or drugs," said Judd.

READ: Former Bartow police officer now facing stalking, sexual battery charges while still behind bars: PCSO

During Fussell's disappearance, deputies say Page and Rivera refused to cooperate with detectives and fled the area. They were both arrested on Sunday, June 2, at a home in Mulberry after a neighbor recognized them and called the police.

Page and Rivera were both charged with Accessory After the Fact of a Capital Felony and Destroying or Tampering with Evidence.

<div>Pictured: Talon Page and Adonai Rivera</div>
Pictured: Talon Page and Adonai Rivera

In court, a PCSO detective testified Page was the primary suspect in Fussell's murder.

"In the affidavit there's a witness who indicates that the defendant made firsthand statements to them that he actually participated and would be the primary aggressor of the murder of the victim," said the detective.

The detective also testified Page, prior to his arrest, was planning on leaving the country along with Rivera.

READ: Two kids seriously burned after coal was dumped from grill at Polk County lake

Sheriff Judd says Rivera sold drugs to Page and took part in Fussell's murder.

The affidavit states Page and Rivera's phone records showed both men did not leave the house the night of May 7 into May 8.

<div>Sheriff Grady Judd believes Ethan Fussell was murdered.</div>
Sheriff Grady Judd believes Ethan Fussell was murdered.

Detectives state Page and Rivera took steps to clean up the crime scene and burn items at a secondary location. A witness supposedly saw them in a vehicle with a section of rolled up carpet inside.

Fussell's body has yet to be recovered.

The sheriff says the two suspects will likely face additional charges and other people could be charged as well.

Their bond was set at $500,000.

Heartland Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the whereabouts of Fussell's body and other arrests related to his murder.

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