Florida beach restaurant manager slain on dating app tryst

A manager at a popular Daytona Beach restaurant was beaten to death by a man he met on a dating app, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

Bobby Scott, 63, was reported missing by his husband on January 18 after he left their home the day before and never returned, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported. Two days later, deputies found Scott’s vehicle in the possession of 20-year-old Michael Harris Jr, who said Scott had loaned it to him for a week.

The investigation eventually revealed that Scott had met up with Harris on January 17 and was not heard from again. On Saturday, deputies arrested Harris and charged him with second degree murder. Later in the day, they found Scott’s body in a wooded area not far from the St Johns River in DeLand.

Scott was a general manager at Caribbean Jack’s, a popular eatery and bar on the Halifax River named for an infamous “rum runner” from the 1920s.

According to the News Journal, Scott went to the gym on January 17, texting his husband that he “May stop at a guy’s house too” just after noon. That was the last he was heard from.

Volusia County deputies say he met Harris on the dating app that morning and agreed to meet him in the afternoon. Scott and his husband, they said, had an open relationship and both saw other people. Sheriff Mike Chitwood said investigators believe Harris likely killed Scott the day he met him.

Investigators say Harris beat Scott to death with a 2 by 4 and a beer bottle, according to Chitwood, who said Harris was a known internet predator.

“Michael Harris has a history of posing as a gay prostitute and blackmailing and robbing the victims, and in this case, murdering the victim,” the sheriff said.

Scott’s husband told investigators OnStar was tracking his vehicle, and deputies found Harris driving it. Harris told them Scott had given it to him to drive for a week, but Scott’s husband said that would not have happened. Under further questioning, Harris said he met Scott to have sex with him, then drove him to Orlando, where he hooked up with another man and let him drive the car. But GPS data showed that Scott’s car had never left Volusia County.

Detectives confiscated the car from Harris and obtained a search warrant. They found blood both on the outside and inside — and bloody fingerprints that were identified as Harris’s.

Chitwood said more charges may be forthcoming and said investigators were working on a motive.

“The only explanation is the car,” he said. “The victim didn’t carry cash.”

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[Featured image: Bobby Scott and Michael Harris Jr/Volusia County Sheriff’s Office]