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Police find man beaten to death

The man is discovered inside a home being built on a gated, coastal lot in New Port Richey.

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 30, 2001

NEW PORT RICHEY -- A 41-year-old Sarasota man was found beaten to death Wednesday night inside a house being built on a wooded, coastal property, police said.

Friends and family had been searching for Simon Charles Clarke until his body was found Wednesday night, New Port Richey police said.

Police remained tight-lipped Thursday about the homicide.

"I'd rather not get out any more facts than we have to," Capt. Martin Rickus said.

He would not say where in the house Clarke was found or what he was doing there, only that he had been beaten.

"I just don't know with what," Rickus said.

Police got a call from friends of Clarke about 8 p.m., Rickus said. Officers responded and found Clarke's body at 4725 Sanctuary Drive, just east of Sea Forest Drive near the Sea Forest subdivision.

Brick columns with a locked iron gate block the grass and dirt entrance to the nearly 15-acre plot of land, which has a taxable value of nearly $150,000.

The dense palms and other trees block views of the house under construction from the road.

A white sign with red letters states "Private Property; Construction Area; No Trespassing."

Clarke's family members and the property owner could not be reached for comment Thursday.

-- Times staff writer Matt Waite and researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report.

-- Times staff writer Ryan Davis is the police reporter in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is rdavis@sptimes.com.

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