Last month, a body was discovered ablaze in a Ruskin field, prompting deputies to initiate a homicide investigation. At the time, two pressing inquiries were at the forefront: the identity of the victim and the individual(s) accountable for the gruesome occurrence.
According to court records, investigators from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were able to solve the case and make an arrest within days of the discovery.
On April 21, deputies took Christian Segura-Alvarez, 20, into custody. This was six days after the discovery of the burnt body of Efrain Ibarra-Barcenas, 44, near the 1100 block of Will Scarlett Drive, according to records. Ruskin resident Segura-Alvarez has been charged with second-degree murder with a firearm and tampering with evidence in a capital felony case.
According to evidence, which includes Segura-Alvarez’s testimony, a second individual is implicated in the crime.
As of now, the Sheriff’s Office has not made any announcement regarding the arrest of Segura-Alvarez or the identification of Ibarra-Barcenas as the victim in the case.
According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Amanda Granit, in response to inquiries from the Tampa Bay Times, it has been confirmed that only one arrest has been made.
Additionally, the county medical examiner has not yet disclosed the cause of death of Ibarra-Barcenas. According to Granit, the office has refrained from disclosing any further details as the investigation is still ongoing.
According to Segura-Alvarez’s arrest affidavit and two search warrant affidavits, investigators have detailed how the arrest was made. According to previously undisclosed information in the case, Ibarra-Barcenas sustained a stab wound in his back from a sizable knife that remained embedded in his body.
According to a 911 caller, an object resembling a mannequin was spotted in a field located in the vicinity of 1100 Will Scarlett Avenue at approximately 8 a.m. on April 15. As per the affidavits, it has been reported that the caller stated that a mannequin was observed with an arrow sticking out of its back. According to the affidavits, the object in question was described as a “large, bladed weapon” and a “knife.”
According to a witness, detectives were informed that a fire was spotted in the field as early as 4 a.m.
Remnants of an orange shirt, blue jean fabric, and a brown work boot were discovered on or in close proximity to the body by investigators. The body was observed to have what seemed to be tape wrapped around its right arm and a belt fastened around its ankles.
According to investigators, a set of tire tracks were discovered near the body at the intersection of 12th Street SE and 16th Ave SE. The tracks suggest that a vehicle had been driven into the field and subsequently driven away west on Will Scarlett Avenue.
At the scene, detectives were working when Mercedes Ibarra approached them. She stated that she had not been in contact with her husband Efrain since the previous morning.
According to Mercedes Ibarra, he left for work at approximately 6 a.m. on April 14 and did not return to his residence, located less than a mile south of where the body was discovered, as reported by detectives. Mercedes Ibarra reported that upon witnessing the law enforcement activity, she speculated that the cause could have been a truck accident.
According to investigators, one of Ibarra-Barcenas’ pay stubs was discovered near his body. Additionally, the remaining pieces of clothing found at the scene were consistent with the description of what he was wearing at the time of his disappearance.
On April 21, a week after the incident, the medical examiner verified what investigators had already determined – the body belonged to Ibarra-Barcenas.
According to Mercedes Ibarra, her husband was reportedly seen drinking with some of his colleagues at a residence located on the 1200 block of 10th Ave SE, which is approximately one mile north of the location where his body was ultimately discovered.
Segura-Alvarez was identified as one of the men. According to affidavits, two men informed detectives that they had been drinking with Ibarra-Barcenas at a residence from approximately 6 to 9 p.m. on April 14. The men stated that Ibarra-Barcenas expressed a desire to visit a bar or nightclub and subsequently departed alone in his white 2014 Chevy Silverado.
The identity of the second man in this story remains undisclosed by The Times, as the Sheriff’s Office has not verified whether he is a suspect in the case.
According to Mercedes Ibarra, her husband’s truck and phone were absent from their residence. According to sources, detectives were able to track the location of the phone using a technique known as pinging. The phone was reportedly found to be in the vicinity of the Newberry Road exit off of Interstate 75, situated in the Gainesville area.
According to a license plate reader, Ibarra-Barcenas’ pickup was detected in the area at approximately 6:18 a.m. on April 15th.
The following day, authorities discovered that Ibarra-Barcenas’ phone had been located in the same vicinity.
According to the phone’s data, it was located at the 10th Avenue residence around 9:30 p.m. on April 15th. Subsequently, it was traced to the vicinity of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Armenia Avenue in Tampa until approximately 11:30 p.m.
According to sources, the phone in question was reportedly present at the 10th Avenue residence from approximately 2:35 a.m. until 3:36 a.m. the following day. It was then allegedly spotted at a field located on Will Scarlett Avenue from 3:36 a.m. to 3:43 a.m.
According to detectives, surveillance footage obtained from the Fort Lonesome Grocery on State Road 674 revealed that the Chevy arrived at the gas pumps at approximately 2:35 a.m. According to eyewitnesses, two individuals who did not match the description of Ibarra-Barcenas were spotted inside the truck. The driver briefly exited the vehicle before returning and driving away.
According to surveillance footage obtained from the Rebel convenience store located on U.S. 301 in Riverview, which is situated west of Fort Lonesome, the truck was present at the store between the hours of 2:54 a.m. and 3 a.m. According to eyewitnesses, a man was seen exiting the driver’s seat of a vehicle and proceeding to purchase a phone charger using cash. After the transaction was completed, the man promptly left the area.
A photo of the man was released by the Sheriff’s Office on April 17, with the individual being referred to as a person of interest in the case.
According to reports, on April 21, a witness who is familiar with the second man who spoke to detectives at the 10th Avenue residence informed authorities that he was the individual captured on video at the Riverview store. According to a witness, he had encountered the man on April 20, and the man had cautioned him to remain silent.
According to the arrest affidavit, detectives obtained a search warrant for a residence on 10th Avenue. While the search was being conducted, Segura-Alvarez arrived at the scene and was presented with a video of a man at the Rebel store. According to the affidavits, he displayed visible signs of distress and requested to conduct the interview in a different location.
According to Segura-Alvarez, he and another man had been drinking with Ibarra-Barcenas on the night in question during the interview. According to Segura-Alvarez, he observed the other man murder Ibarra-Barcenas and restrain him with tape.
According to Segura-Alvarez, he assisted in loading Ibarra-Barcenas’ body into his pickup truck and transporting it to a nearby field. Segura-Alvarez claims that the other individual proceeded to set the body on fire.
According to Segura-Alvarez, he confessed to striking Ibarra-Barcenas in the abdomen on three separate occasions, while the other individual reportedly hit and kicked him repeatedly.
The arrest affidavit does not reveal any information regarding how Ibarra-Barcenas was killed, despite Segura-Alvarez being charged with murder with a firearm. According to the Medical Examiner, the death has been classified as a homicide. However, the cause of death has not been disclosed in the records.
According to court documents, no suspected motive has been indicated.
According to official records, Segura-Alvarez is currently detained in the Hillsborough County jail, where his bail has been established at $600,000. According to records, the individual’s occupation is listed as a day laborer.
According to sources, Segura-Alvarez is being represented by Hillsborough Public Defender Julianne Holt’s office. When asked for comment on Thursday, Holt, who usually refrains from commenting on ongoing cases, did not respond immediately.
According to a source close to Ibarra-Barcenas, the family has declined to comment at this time as the investigation into the matter is still ongoing.
According to public records, Ibarra-Barcenas, a resident of southeast Hillsborough County, has lived in the area for over two decades. He was born in Mexico.