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Suspect in Fla. Woman's Murder Met Victim Through Personal Ad, Say Cops

Florida Woman Danielle Santangelo Murdered, Suspect Met Victim Through Personal Ad
Danielle Santangelo (CBS affiliate WKMG)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (CBS/WKMG/AP) A Florida man who authorities say responded to a personal ad from a woman who referred to herself as the "Girlfriend next door" has been charged with murder after he allegedly slashed her throat and stuffed her body into the back of a car.

Willie Hicks has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the slaying of Danielle Santangelo. Santangelo was reported missing by her mother on Monday, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

Volusia County sheriff's deputies found Santangelo's body in the back of a red 2007 Chrysler Sebring Wednesday afternoon in a wooded area.

There were visible signs of trauma to the body, but the cause of death will not be released until an autopsy is performed.

Investigators say Santangelo placed an ad in the local Pennysaver newspaper describing herself as a beautiful, classy Italian woman, then met up with Hicks Monday evening, says WKMG.

Using phone records, deputies were able to track down Rose Hicks, Hicks' mother, who told authorities that she heard what sounded like the moans of a woman in pain coming from the apartment room where her son is allowed to stay.

Rose Hicks also claimed that she saw her 34-year-old son carrying bloody clothes through the back yard before burning them in a barrel.

Hicks' sister spoke to WKMG and claims her that mother had been drinking beer at the time, that her statement was a lie and that she had been coerced by police.

Willie Hicks was booked into the Volusia County Jail.