Randall Cooke called his wife on the evening of April 19 to let her know that he was about to complete his last Uber Eats delivery of the day and would be home soon, his wife, Kathy Cooke, said in a Facebook post shared by her daughter.
But Randall Cooke did not return home that evening.
Instead, his remains were found in trash bags two days later at the address where he logged his last delivery, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in New Port Richey, Florida.
One of the home’s residents, Oscar Adrian Solis, 30, who officials say is affiliated with the gang MS-13, has been arrested and charged with murder.
’This is demonic’
Deputies began searching for Cooke after his family reported him missing on the night of April 19, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference posted on Facebook. He had last been seen in Holiday at around 2:30 p.m. that day, according to the sheriff’s office.
His wife had heard from him by phone just before 6:45 p.m., when he told her he was about to drop off food for an Uber Eats delivery and would return shortly, Nocco said.
Cooke’s wife wrote on Facebook that she tried calling both of his phones when he didn’t come home, but both had been turned off.
Detectives with the sheriff’s office’s missing persons unit contacted Uber Eats to find out his last-known GPS coordinates and went to a house on Moog Road in Holiday, about 35 miles northwest of Tampa, Nocco said.
They originally saw nothing suspicious at the house, Nocco said, but when they returned the next day, April 21, they spoke to a roommate of Solis, who gave them video footage from outside the house.
The footage shows the victim, who authorities did not name during the news conference, on April 19 approaching the door to deliver food before the video cuts out, Nocco said. Footage from the following day, April 20, shows Solis and another person carrying trash bags out of the house, he said.
Detectives asked to go through the trash bags and found human remains inside, Nocco said.
Deputies arrested Solis on April 21 on charges of violation of parole and failing to register as a convicted felon, Nocco said. Solis, who Nocco described as a “violent individual,” moved to Florida from Indiana in January and has a lengthy criminal record in that state.
He is also affiliated with MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, which has a presence across the U.S. and is involved in multiple criminal activities, including weapons smuggling, illegal firearms sales and drug distribution, according to the Department of Justice.
Detectives continued to investigate and identified the remains found at the residence on April 24, Nocco said. They also found the victim’s wedding ring and car keys in the house.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office did not identify the remains as belonging to Cooke, but his family members identified him on social media and to news outlets.
Solis was charged on April 24 with murder while engaged in robbery, according to Pasco County jail records.
“This was absolutely a horrific crime of passion,” Nocco said. “This is demonic.”
Nocco said detectives were still working to figure out why the killing took place.
“There was a gentleman who was working, doing his last delivery of the night, and this person killed him for no reason and took him away from his family,” he said.
Solis is being held without bond, according to jail records.
’Heart of gold’
Loved ones posted messages on social media asking for support for Cooke’s family after he went missing.
In a post shared by her daughter, Brittany Dzoba, Cooke’s wife wrote that he was a stepfather to her two daughters, and he also had two daughters and a son.
“Randy was a hardworking, loving, kind and caring man who cared deeply about his family and friends,” she wrote.
A GoFundMe page created for the family describes Cooke as having a “heart of gold.”
An Uber spokesperson said in a statement that the company had been in close touch with the sheriff’s office throughout the investigation.
“We are heartbroken by the news of this horrific crime,” the statement says. “There is no reason why Mr. Cooke shouldn’t be home with his family today, and we are keeping his loved ones in our thoughts.”