An Indiana man who believed he was going on a first date with a woman he met on a dating app was instead robbed and beaten to death by the people posing behind the woman’s fake profile. Willie Smith, 55, was found at a residence in Florida with traumatic injuries to his face, WLFI reports. He was unresponsive at the time and after being flown to IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, he was pronounced dead.
- The Flora Police Department believes three people may be involved in the attack. As of June 23, only two people had been arrested: 22-year-old Tyrone Leftridge and 24-year-old Shianne Brooks-Brown. The investigation continues and further arrests may be forthcoming.
- Leftridge did eventually admit involvement. He is said to have told police that they planned to lure Smith to the location all along and that when he arrived, Leftridge hid behind a garage and heard another man attack him. Police also obtained audio of a phone call between Leftridge and an inmate in which he claimed that “he had hit the guy with a baseball bat because he had a knife.”
- Another witness had a different story. According to a woman present at the scene, Leftridge used MeetMet to set up an encounter in which she would have sex with a man for $80 but she refused to oblige. When Smith arrived expecting to have sex, she says she refused and that he accepted her decision and did not touch her, nor did he have any weapons. Instead, Leftridge came running out of the garage and hit Smith with a baseball bat and the woman ran away. Leftridge caught up with her soon after with cash, a wallet, and cell phone.
- Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head. Court documents specify that the trauma came “from an injury sustained by Leftridge during the commission of the robbery.”
- His organs were donated by his family. Smith’s daughter Jannette said that she was grateful her father stayed alive long enough to be able to donate his organs to those in need. “He was a great guy. He didn’t deserve this, but in this, he is a hero. He did donate, he did save two peoples’ lives today, and hopefully he’ll be able to save a few more, and he didn’t deserve this,” she said, as per Fox 59.