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Body found, identity sought
Authorities say it was a homicide and the body has been in the woods five to seven days.
By JOHN FRANK, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007
[Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
Hernando Sheriff's Office released this photo of jewelry found on an African-American female homicide victim in hopes of identifying her.
BROOKSVILLE - Her hair had 8-inch braided extensions colored purple at the ends. She wore gold-colored hoop earrings with dolphins.
Her left wrist is tattooed with a name, possibly Jeremy or Jimmy, and star bursts on either side. The tops of her feet are marked in the same Old English lettering. "Libra" on the right, an unrecognizable image on the left.
Authorities hope these clues can identify a woman whose decomposed body was found Tuesday morning in a thick patch of woods at the end of a secluded road in northern Hernando County.
It's the first homicide investigation in the county this year, compared with five in 2006, zero in 2005 and four in 2004.
"We have evidence of foul play, but we are not saying what evidence due to the ongoing investigation," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Black. "The first thing we need to do is identify the victim."
Authorities think the woman is African-American, and between 20 and 40 years old. She is about 5 feet 3 to 5 feet 7and weighs about 130 to 150 pounds.
The estimates are broad, Black said, because of the condition of the body. A preliminary investigation indicates the woman was left in the woods off Brooksville Rock Road near the CSX train tracks five to seven days ago. The tattoos are hard to read, investigators said, because the skin is not entirely intact.
Black said the Sheriff's Office sent information about the woman to law enforcement agencies across the state and nation, not knowing exactly where she's from.
"We have some pretty good information that is pretty distinct to this person," she said. "... That in itself should trigger someone who knows something."
If it doesn't work, investigators next will try to reconstruct the woman's appearance, but Black said that will be difficult.
Anyone with information about the unidentified woman or suspicious activity near the scene of the crime is asked to call the Hernando County Sheriff's Office at (352)754-6830 or the anonymous tip line at (866) 990-8477.