Person found dead in parking lot at Tampa campus, police say

The victim was a male in his 60s with no affiliation to the university, according to a press release sent Saturday morning. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/USF

Two people were taken into custody after a person was found dead on Saturday in parking lot 3C near the Fine Arts building on the Tampa campus, according to an updated press release from the University Police Department (UPD) sent Wednesday. 

The victim, identified as a male in his 60s named Winton Cutchins, had no affiliation with the university, according to the updated release. 

UPD was notified shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday after a passerby made a 911 call to report the body, according to UPD Public Information Representative Michael Lavelle. 

Police determined Cutchins appeared to have suffered upper body trauma, according to an initial release sent Saturday.

At around noon on Saturday, the two suspects, David Bartles and Thomas Phanphilathip, were taken into custody, according to the updated press release. Both were not affiliated with the university, according to the release.

They are currently being held in the Marion County jail awaiting extradition back to Tampa on charges of first-degree murder and theft of a motor vehicle by force, the updated release said.

Bartles and Phanphilathip arrived at Cutchins’ house early Saturday morning seeking a ride to a bus depot, according to the updated release. Cutchins agreed to assist the men and drove them to the parking lot on campus at around 6:30 a.m., the release said.

The two suspects attacked Cutchins with a knife and removed him in from his truck, according to the updated release. The release said Bartles and Phanphilathip departed campus with Cutchins’ truck and left him in the parking lot.

Bartles and Phanphilathip were found in Ocala after the Ocala Police Department received reports of the two “looking suspicious” at a local gas station. With the information available, Ocala Police suspected the two were the ones connected to Cutchins’ death and were taken into custody, according to the release. The release said Cutchins’ truck was recovered in Ocala.

UPD said there is no active threat to the campus community, according to the press release.

This story has been updated.