Death rattles mobile home park
A woman is found dead and bloody in her home Monday; police are treating the case as a suspicious death. Neighbors say it's the first time in years anything bad has happened.
By LORRI HELFAND
Published August 22, 2006
[Times photo: Jim Damaske]
Randy Wodenka, who looks after his mother, who lives in Grand Bay Mobile Home Park, said he and his mother would take care of the deceased woman's dog until they can find her family. He said the worst thing he'd heard about happening at the park was the theft of some fishing rods and a bicycle from a storage area.
Update: Man confesses to murder
Pinellas County Sheriff's detectives are investigating the death of a woman whose bloodied body was found in her mobile home by neighbors Monday.
The Sheriff's Office was called to the Grand Bay Mobile Home Park, at 3300 Alt. U.S. 19 N in the Dunedin area, about 1:45 p.m. Monday, spokesman Mac McMullen said.
McMullen did not release the name of the victim. Investigators are treating the case as a suspicious death but did not release details of how the woman, who was about 60, died.
Neighbor John Short said he was urgently called into the woman's mobile home Monday afternoon by one of the woman's friends.
"She was lying on the floor, and he was shouting" her name, Short, 74, said.
Short said the woman's neck and face were covered with blood and that some of her jewelry was on the floor near her body.
"I hope they get whoever done it, so people can get back to their lives in the park again," Short said.
Short's wife, Margaret, said the woman had moved to the mobile home park about a year ago. Neighbors said she lived alone with a little black schipperke dog. She often played cards on Thursday nights and socialized with residents, they said.
"She was a beautiful person," neighbor John Alden, 65, said. "She was very vibrant. She used to come out and play horseshoes with the guys."
Neighbor Terry Nichols, 60, said he was walking his Shih Tzu dog Gunther early Monday by the woman's house when he heard her dog barking incessantly.
"Shadow never makes a sound, but he was wound up this morning," Nichols said.
Randy Wodenka, who looks after his mother, who lives at the park, said he and his mom will take care of Shadow until they can track down the owner's family. Wodenka said his mother has cared for the dog before, when the woman went on vacation.
He and other residents who live in Grand Bay, a mobile home community with tidy homes and well-manicured lawns, said the park is generally quiet and peaceful.
"We've never had any problems," Wodenka said. "We're not in the hood. I don't know who would do this to this girl. It's scary."
The biggest crime Wodenka knew about at the park was the theft of six fishing poles and his mother's bicycle from a storage area.
"I've been here 20 years," said resident Earl Ziler, 75. "It's the first time anything has happened in 20 years."
Lorri Helfand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 445-4155. Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report.
[Last modified August 21, 2006, 23:06:05]
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