A bloodied Florida woman suspected of murder has been charged with additional charges after she asked police for a soda and then “poured herself over it” to remove forensic evidence from her body, Daytona Beach police said .
Nichole A. Maks, 35, was charged with evidence tampering and resisting arrest by force and first-degree first degree murder in the August 5 death of 79-year-old Michael Cerasoli. This is according to an affidavit shared with Fox News Digital by police.
Firefighters were called to a smoldering home on the 600 block of Clark Street at 1:46 a.m. on July 1. Clothing on the second floor was set on fire, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News Digital, but said they “NO [additional] Fire investigation information.”
After quickly dousing the flames, first responders found Cerasoli lying face down in a blood-splattered room. He suffered blunt force injuries to the head and stab wounds to the torso, police said.
The dead man’s landlord told police that Maks was his second tenant – but the woman was nowhere to be found.
Two mobile phones were recovered near the 79-year-old’s body: one belonged to the victim, while the other, on which a bloodied knife was balanced, belonged to Maks.
Less than two hours later, police said they spotted a barefoot Maks with blood on her leg and a torn shirt outside a Krystal restaurant in the nearby community of Holly Hill.
As they approached, police said, they dropped “a knife and a hammer” at their feet.
Maks dodged questions about her current whereabouts and where she lives by first pointing in one direction and saying she lives “right over there” at a nearby pawn shop and then claiming she’s been living on the street for the past four years, the authorities said Police.
She denied knowing Cerasoli when investigators showed her his photo.
When questioned, police said they admitted knowing the man but denied seeing him on the day he was killed. She then switched again, telling police that she is currently staying with Cerasoli and had been at their home earlier that day.
Daytona Beach Police then took Maks into custody according to her affidavit for questioning.
After being read her Miranda rights, Maks told investigators that she never entered Cerasoli’s bedroom and only entered the second floor of their shared apartment to “feed her spiders.”
When asked about the guns she dropped, police said Maks became “excited” and demanded a lawyer. Police later returned with a search warrant to examine the woman’s bloodied body for DNA evidence.
Then Maks asked for a can of Diet Mountain Dew and the police complied.
She began “reluctantly” to drink and investigators tried to take the can away from her, police said.
Then “Maks began to resist and spilled the can of soda all over her body and hair … walked away from officers in an attempt to disrupt any possible evidence.” [her] body,” the affidavit reads.
Police then allegedly forced Maks to “pull and kick” in their squad car.
The blood on the knife, found near Cerasoli’s body, matched samples from Maks’ clothing, police said. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that her DNA was also found on the gun’s handle.
Maks is being held without bail at the Volusia County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on September 5.
A recent study from North Carolina State University found that sucralose — a common artificial sweetener also known as splenda and found in Diet Mountain Dew and other sodas — can break down the genetic material that makes up DNA.
While researchers found that the sweetener could put people at risk of disease and wear down the gut lining, it’s unclear if dousing with soda pop would actually eliminate forensic evidence.