Matas Baltus

Delray Beach Man Charged With Murder, Allegedly Bound, Gagged, Killed Victim

Arrest Boca Raton Broward County Delray Beach Florida News Palm Beach County

Massive Investigation, Hunt, Multi-Agency Police Work Leads To Arrest.

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Matas Baltus, Courtesy Palm Beach County Jail.

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Delray Beach resident Matas Baltus is facing a murder charge after investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office say he bound, gagged, duct-taped, and wrapped electric cords around a man who he left in a bathroom. That man, identified as Willy Wenji, was dead.

BocaNewsNow.com is publishing the entire six-page arrest report filed by PBSO. It details the precision police work that went into investigating the murder and eventually arresting Baltus. The investigation spanned two counties and involved multiple law enforcement agencies. Baltus remains held without bond in the Palm Beach County Jail. The charge: first degree premediated murder.


ARREST REPORT VERBATIM: On March 9, 2022, at 2143 hours, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to 3138 Via Ponciana, Lake Worth, in reference to a suspicious person. The complainant, cooperating witness #1 (CW1), reported that there was an unknown male sitting inside her neighbor’s vehicle, seemed confused, and he didn’t know why he was there. CW1 said she tried to call the owner’s cellular phone, and it started ringing from inside the vehicle. While on 911, CW1 started screaming, stating that the male began speeding away and struck several vehicles in the parking lot as he fled.

The vehicle was described as a dark colored 2015 Hyundai Genesis, bearing Florida tag CLXE05 At the same time, cooperating witness #2 (CW2) called 911, stating that he was following the vehicle southbound on Jog Rd from 10th Ave N. CW2 lost sight of the vehicle on Jog Rd, south of Hypoluxo Rd. Upon deputy’s arrival, CW1 told them that she saw the front door of apartment 102 standing open, along with the doors and trunk of the resident’s vehicle, which was parked in front of this apartment. She yelled inside the residence, with no answer, then entered to check for him.

When she went inside, she found the above male asleep on a couch inside the apartment. She was able to awake him, then he went outside, and entered the vehicle before fleeing. Based on this information, deputies entered the apartment to conduct a protective sweep. During the sweep, they found the resident, Willy Wenji, deceased in the bathroom. Wenji was slumped over the bathtub, with his head inside and feet outside. Wenji had his arms tied behind his back, wrapped in electrical cords, computer cords, and tape: He also had tape around his feet and neck. Based on this information, Wenji’s vehicle was entered into License Plate Readers (LP’s) and his vehicle was entered into teletype as a felony vehicle. The suspect was described as a white male, around 5’11” tall, 200 pounds, wearing a pink polo shirt, white shorts, and no shoes.

Over the next approximate hour, hit and run crashes were reported along Jog Rd in Delay Beach and Boca Raton, describing the same type of vehicle. An exigent ping was requested for Wenji’s phone, which showed it in the area of Palmetto Park Rd and Powerline Rd (also known as Jog Rd), in Boca Raton. CW2 eventually met with deputies, where he told them that the heard the commotion outside, went out to find an unknown male in Wenj’s vehicle, confronted him, and eventually was going back to his apartment to get his phone. During this time, the male erratically backed out of the parking space, striking two elderly females and several vehicles, then fled. CW2 decided to attempt to follow the vehicle, which he eventually lost sight of, due to the male’s erratic driving. CW2 provided the exact clothing description of the male as CW1.

While on scene, detectives were contacted by Deputy Wells #19377, of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Wells told us that the vehicle was found in the roadway in front of 2350. NW 5th St, in Pompano Beach. The vehicle was occupied by a male matching the exact description provided by witnesses. At my request, the male, later identified as Matas Baltus, was detained. Detective Gomez #25974 and I traveled to that location, where it was confirmed that this was Wenji’s vehicle, which became disabled due to several crashes. While Baltus was being searched, incident to arrest, three of Wenji’s identification cards were found in Baltus’ pockets. Additionally, when they arrived, Baltus was taking a suitcase out of the trunk of the vehicle, and was attempting to change clothing on the side of the road. Broward deputies told us that they responded to a 911 call of a suspicious vehicle at that location, and discovered Wenji’s vehicle.

Detective Gomez conducted a sworn interview with the caller, Dave Goodrum. Goodrum told Detective Gomez that he noticed the vehicle in the roadway, so he went outside, and asked the driver if he was okay. Baltus replied, “I gotta get out of here. I stole this car”, so Goodrum called the Sheriff’s Office. CW2 was transported to that location for a show up, where he positively identified Baltus as the driver of the vehicle and the male who was seen inside Wenji’s apartment before he was discovered murdered. Baltus was arrested and charged with grand theft auto by Detective Rutkowski #9723, of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, documented under their case number 11-2203-003073. While at the scene I conducted a post-Miranda interview with Baltus. During the interview, he denied being in the vehicle. Baltus said he was walking down the street, saw the vehicle, and then was detained by deputies. Baltus only claimed to have been in Broward and Delay Beach during the entire day.

When confronted that he was positively identified as driving the vehicle in West Palm Beach, Baltus stated that he has not gone to West Palm Beach.

The following is a synopsis of the interviews, and is not intended to be verbatim: CW1 said she was in her apartment and she looked out her window and observed Wenji’s vehicle parked in his assigned spot. She noticed the lights were on and the trunk and driver’s door were open. Approximately twenty minutes later, she looked outside again, and the vehicle was still in the same condition. CW1 was worried something was wrong, so she went to check on Wenji, and noticed the front door was partially open. CW1 attempted to make contact by knocking on the door and she didn’t receive a response. CW1 then contacted a neighbor, CW3, to see if he could help her make contact with Wenji. They both knocked again and yelled into the apartment to attempt contact. After no response, they both entered the apartment and found a male, later determined to be Baltus, sleeping in the reclining chair in the living room. They woke him up and asked him where the owner was, and he replied that he didn’t know.

Eventually, Baltus made his way toward Wenjl’s vehicle and entered the driver’s seat. CW1, CW3, and CW4 were attempting to stall Baltus because law enforcement had been notified. CW1 and CW4 were standing on the driver’s side of Wenji’s vehicle and the driver’s door was open. Suddenly, Baltus started the car and reversed the vehicle at a high speed striking CW1 and CW4 with the driver’s door, knocking them to the ground. They both suffered injuries to their knees and arms. CW3 said that his neighbor, CW1, came to his apartment to alert him that Weni’s vehicle had been running, with its doors and trunk open for approximately twenty minutes. He said that he went outside, and saw the doors and trunk open. He said that he noticed that the door to Wenji’s apartment was slightly ajar, so he called into the apartment from outside. No one answered, so he entered the residence. A male, who was now determined to be Baltus, was sleeping in a chair in the living room. He said that he called out to Baltus, who woke up and came to the doorway.

He said that he and neighbors started asking him questions, and he appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance and disoriented. CW3 said that Baltus didn’t know where he was, and said that Wenji had called him from Delay to come to the house to pick-up some items. While speaking with them, a neighbor called Wenji’s phone number, at which time a phone began ringing in the front passenger’s seat. CW3 said that at that time, neighbors told Baltus not to leave, and someone left to call for law enforcement assistance. Baltus re-entered the apartment, then re-emerged with a rolling-style luggage, which he placed into the trunk of the vehicle. He said that Baltus then sat in the driver’s seat with the driver’s door open, and feigned as if he was not leaving, as CW1 and CW4 stood outside the driver’s door. CW3 said that Baltus then suddenly traveled in reverse, knocking CW1 and CW4 to the ground after hitting them with the driver’s door.

As the Chrysler reversed, it crashed into three other parked vehicles, and Balts stopped momentarily. CW3 said that he and another neighbor tried to open the door to retrieve Baltus, however they were unsuccessful; and Baltus sped away out of the neighborhood. CW3 said that a neighbor (CW2) then entered his own vehicle and followed after the Chrysler. CW4 arrived after CW1 and CW3 had made contact with Baltus. CW4 called 911 and reported the suspicious incident. After calling 911, CW4 confirmed her and CW1 were both standing by on the driver’s side of Wenji’s vehicle, when Baltus reversed the vehicle at a high speed, hitting both of them with the vehicles driver’s door. CW4 also shoes.

During crime scene processing, there was evidence found of an attempt to clean up, such as blue cleaning liquids found on the floor of the bathroom, and empty cleaning bottles found in the toilet tank. Wenji also had an unknown blue cleaning liquid poured over his back, which ran down his legs and back. Again, Wenji’s arms were bound behind his back with electrical cord, computer cords, and tape. During autopsy, Wenji was found to have multiple blunt force trauma injuries to his neck, head, face, and chest.

DNA processing was requested on several items recovered from the murder scene, specifically items recovered from Wenji’s body. On March 12, 2022, I received results of the DNA processing from collective swabs of the cell phone charging cords which were used to bind Wenji’s hands and forearms behind his back. The DNA processing revealed only two profiles on the cords, Willy Wenji and Matas Baltas, showing that the cords had not been touched by any other human.

Baltus was found to be the only other occupant of Wenji’s apartment prior to Wenji being discovered murdered. When Baltus was found in Wenji’s vehicle, three of Wenji’s photo identifications were found in Baltus’ pocket.

When confronted with evidence of the investigation, Baltus denied knowing Wenji, being in his vehicle, or the area of Wenji’s residence. DNA processing showed that the only other person who touched the charging cords used to tie Wenji’s forearms and hands behind his back was Baltus. Based on this information, I find probable cause to charge Matas Baltus with First Degree Murder, pursuant to Florida State Statute 782.04 (1)(A)(1).

LOCAL JOURNALISM SUPPORTER.

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