Deputies in St. Johns County have arrested a woman in the stabbing death of her boyfriend Sunday evening at a transient camp in Marsh Landing near the Duval-St. Johns County line.
Brenda Santiago Muniz, 28, is charged with murder in the killing of 35-year-old Luther Hardmon. The two were apparently living in the homeless camp in the woods.
Investigators said the killing happened during an altercation in a part of the woods behind the Target shopping center off State Road A1A about 5 p.m. Deputies said an exact motive for the stabbing has not been established.
"There were witnesses in the area that would provide information to establish that Ms. Muniz did, in fact, stab the victim and it was over some sort of altercation," said Cpl. Catherine Payne, of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
Detectives surveyed the scene, took pictures for hours and questioned witnesses, saying there was no threat to the people who live around there. They returned to the scene Monday.
Muniz was being held in the St. Johns County jail with bail set at $750,000.
The crime happened behind an affluent area where a lot of people say they pay a lot of money to rent space there and don't want to deal with the homeless.
Most business owners in the area didn't want to talk about the homeless problems, except to say that they exist. One mother and daughter did share their concerns.
"I've never heard of anything bad such as a murder in this area," Rosemarie Parry said.
Parry said the murder is tragic and that something needs to be done so it doesn't happen there again.
"I think there should be more cops around and we should have more homeless shelters so maybe we can help them out so things like this don't happen to them," she said.
"The best bet is to have shelters open, and we just have to make sure the homeless know where to go," said Nancy Hockenbery, whose husband owns a nearby business.