Fatal shooting in Manatee County orange grove considered a homicide

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**UPDATE**  Detectives have developed a person of interest in the case.  They want to talk to the victim’s former boyfriend, 32-year-old Joel Ramirez. Ramirez didn’t show up at his job Thursday as a farmworker in Hardee County.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011, ext. 2159 or Crime Stopppers at 866-634-TIPS.

MANATEE COUNTY, FL. - A woman was found shot and killed in an east Manatee County grove Wednesday, and detectives are considering it a homicide.

Manatee County Sheriff's investigators say a co-worker found 42-year-old Bowling Green resident Maria Moralez inside a tractor at an orange grove just before 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The grove is located along State Road 62, which is also known as Wauchula Road in Duette.

Witnesses saw her working there earlier in the day. The sheriff's office says detectives are investigating the shooting as a homicide.

Moralez is a single mother of five.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.