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Body discovered off quarry road
Authorities search woods in Brooksville for clues to woman's identity and her death.
By JOHN FRANK, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007
Authorities line Brooksville Rock Road near where a CSX railroad worker smelled a foul odor and noticed buzzards. Deputies found the body of a woman about 25 yards east of the road.
[Ron Thompson | Times]
BROOKSVILLE - In a remote woods next to train tracks and a lonely road leading to a quarry, Hernando authorities are trying to piece together the death of a woman with no known name or age.
Her body was found shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday, decomposing amid the tall trees and thick brush 25 yards off Brooksville Rock Road a couple of miles south of the Citrus County line.
A CSX railroad worker, riding the rails that lead from near the Cemex quarry back into town, alerted deputies to a suspicious smell and a large number of vultures in the area, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.
Investigators believe the woman died more than 24 hours before her body was found, but they can't yet pinpoint when she died. "This is not a skeleton remains situation; this is recent death," sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Black wrote in a press release.
Crime scene technicians worked slowly and methodically throughout the day as they put little orange flags next to places of interest or evidence.
"They are being very meticulous not to disturb the body right now," Black said.
The Sheriff's Office even moved its semitrailer-truck-sized mobile command unit to the scene because of the remoteness and because authorities thought they'd be there for "several days" looking for clues, Black said.
Investigators are also combing through missing person reports hoping to identify the woman.
Tom Healey, 67, lives nearby and walked the road to the tracks at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, as he often does, to collect rocks for a stone wall he's building at his house. "I police it every single morning," he said.
"He's a busybody," explained his wife, Barbara, 65.
"If there's anything there, I don't know how I missed it," he continued.
Always on the lookout, Healey told authorities about seeing some unknown cars and people in the area in recent days. "There's been some strange things going on here," he said.
But if there were, Wiliam Hazivasilis, 78, didn't know. He lives the closest, just 50 yards, to where the body was found.
"It is something out of the way for someone to come back here," he said. "You have to know the area. It's all woods back there."
Hazivasilis said the few people who drive the road cross the railroad tracks and go to work at Dino Noble, a blasting company that does work in the nearby Cemex mine. The body was found in the woods off the road just shy of a Dino sign and metal gate that prevents cars from crossing the tracks.
"You hardly see a vehicle outside of when the workers come in," he said.