Jimmy Ryce disappeared on September 11, 1995, after being dropped off by the school bus in Redlands, Florida. Extensive search efforts failed to locate the boy.
Juan Carlos Chavez worked as a handyman for the Scheinhaus family and lived in a trailer located on their property. Chavez also cared for the Scheinhaus’ horses, which were boarded on a farm owned by David Santana.
In late August or early September of 1995, Susan Scheinhaus reported to police that several items were missing from her residence, including a handgun and some jewelry. Scheinhaus suspected Chavez, but had no evidence to prove her suspicions.
On December 5, 1995, Scheinhaus, aided by a locksmith, entered the trailer inhabited by Chavez. Scheinhaus spotted the handgun in plain view. After further examination of the trailer, Scheinhaus found a book bag belonging to Jimmy Ryce. Several items in the book bag, including books and papers had his name written on them. Scheinhaus notified the FBI.
On December 6, 1995, Chavez was located and taken to the Metro-Dade Police Station for questioning.
During a 55-hour interrogation, Chavez confessed that he kidnapped Jimmy Ryce at gunpoint and then took him to the horse farm where he sexually assaulted and later shot the boy. Chavez transported the body to the Scheinhaus residence. There he dismembered the boy's body and hid the parts by cementing them in three large planters.