JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video above is from a previous report.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Friday that officers made an arrest in connection to the murder of a woman whose body was found in a San Marco lake earlier this month.
Officers arrested Dedric Wesley on a charge of second degree murder in 24-year-old Beverly Febres' death. His arrest warrant said the two were dating for one year. Febres' family confirmed the two were dating, but said they never met Wesley.
Her family said Wesley was not the father of Febres' two children.
Febres' sister said while the arrest doesn't bring her sister back, it's a step closer to justice. She said detectives told her family about the arrest Thursday. Family and friends remembered her as someone who loved to make people laugh and cared about everyone.
According to the warrant, detectives discovered Wesley's name tattooed on her arm when they pulled Febres' body from Marco Lake.
On the morning of Tuesday, July 12, police responded to reports of a body in a lake in the 800 block of Sorrento Road. The man who called 911 said he was on his morning walk with his dog when he saw what looked like a person in Marco Lake, officials said.
JSO's dive team retrieved pulled a woman's body from the water with the help of Jacksonville Fire and Rescue. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
A recently obtained arrest warrant says Febres was found with two gunshot wounds to the left side of her head. It also says her phone was found at the scene and a recent location of her phone was in the 8100 block of Alderman Road in Arlington, the same road Wesley lives on.
The warrant says when detectives met with Febres' family, they told detectives that Wesley was at a phone store attempting to buy a new cellphone.
The warrant says detectives talked to the manager at the T-Mobile store who confirmed Wesley came in looking for a new iPhone. The store manager stated Wesley said "his girlfriend went crazy and stole his phone," and that he wanted to suspend his account so his girlfriend couldn't get his calls or text messages.
Detectives interviewed Wesley, who reportedly downplayed his relationship with Febres. The warrant told detectives that he last saw Febres on July 11 at approximately seven p.m., the day before her body was found.
Wesley told detectives he didn't go to the San Marco area where Febres body was found.
Six days later after Febres' body was found, officers said they located her vehicle in a vacant lot near 7013 Blackard Road. The warrant said the passenger seat of the vehicle was "covered in blood," and a nine millimeter casing was recovered inside the vehicle.
The warrant goes on to say the casing had characteristics that matched the projectile and fragments recovered from Febres' body.
Wesley had his first appearance Friday morning. He is being held on a $500,003 bond. His next court date is Aug. 18.
Febres' sister, Nadya, set up a GoFundMe to raise money for Febres' funeral costs, and to help her two young sons.
"Her life was taken from her at the age of 24 and she leaves behind two handsome little boys who she loved more than anything in this world," Nadya wrote.
Nadya went on to say that her sister loved her family "more than anything," especially her children and nephew and niece, and "fought every single day to have a better life."
According to court records, Wesley was charged with carrying a concealed firearm in 2017. The charge was dropped, however, by the State Attorney's Office.
In 2020, he was charged with no motor vehicle registration and possessing a controlled substance, less than 20 grams of cannabis. He pleaded guilty. His probation ended in November of 2021 at the recommendation of the Department of Corrections.
Just this week, Monday, 13 days after Febres was found, Wesley was pulled over for an illegal tint. He was also charged with having no more than 20 grams of marijuana. He pleaded guilty and got six months of probation.
Two other local mothers were also murdered in recent days. In one of those homicides, a suspect hasn't been named yet. Jennifer Rodriguez, CEO of Quigley House, a local shelter, said they've seen a steady increase of calls to their hotline since the pandemic.
"The statistics are increasing locally, unfortunately," Rodriguez said. "Obviously, you know, we've been through a lot as a society. The climate of our communities have changed not only because of COVID, but other factors. And I feel this is all contributing to the power and control dynamics that exist within these relationships. You know, wherever there's a stressor, unfortunately, somebody ends up taking the burden, and it tends to be vulnerable people," she said.
“It's tragic," Rodriguez said. "These are supposed to be relationships that are trusting and safe, and unfortunately, they weren't. So, there's that factor. But, what we do know about domestic violence is that two out of five female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partner. It's a prevalent issue, unfortunately. And it's something that together as a community, hopefully we can stop," she said.
That data is from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
If you or someone you know is in need of help or resources, Quigley House's 24/7 crisis hotline is 904-284-0061. Hubbard House's 24/7 crisis hotline is 904-354-3114. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233.