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Police know when 8 men died, but don't know who they were

Published June 9, 2007


FORT MYERS - Eight people whose skeletal remains were discovered in March were all white men who died between 1980 and 2000, but who they were and how they got there remain a mystery, officials said Friday.

Police are working to identify the remains and released details about victims' injuries with hopes it would jog the memories of people who knew them. They were all between the ages of 18 and 49, officials estimated.

"We are treating this as a criminal matter, " police Sgt. Jennifer Soto said. "First and foremost, we would like to assure the public that there is no immediate cause for concern."

Police declined to discuss details of how the men might have died.

Investigators are working on a variety of theories, including that the remote site - down a dirt road in an industrial section of the city near Interstate 75 - was a dumping ground for a serial killer.

"We have a lot of theories right now, " police Chief Hilton Daniels said. "We have not ruled out a funeral home having dumped these bodies, and we have not ruled out a serial killer. After we identify these people we'll have a better idea."

The discovery of the remains by an ecologist surveying a wooded tract for development on March 23 sent a collective shiver through a sun-splashed city better known as a haven for retirees and spring breakers than for sensational crime.

Police initially found three skeletons, but searchers later found five others, all within 50 yards. Weeks of digging and sifting in the spots where bones were found didn't result in any conclusive findings.

[Last modified June 9, 2007, 01:36:17]

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