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Body of slain woman discovered in alley


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2000

TAMPA -- At first, Rander Blocker thought he was seeing a mannequin in the alley off Oberry Lane and E 21st Avenue. The woman's body was so still.

[Times photo: Chris Schneider]
Tampa police Det. Julie Massucci and other officers scour an alley Thursday near Oberry Lane N and 21st Avenue after a partly clothed body was found there. Police had not identified the victim.
Blocker, 40, a supervisor at Chemex paint and coating, ran back inside and dragged a co-worker out to confirm what his disbelieving eyes had seen: the body of a partly nude woman in the alley scrub grass.

Recalling the scene hours later Thursday, he broke down crying.

"It's crazy," Blocker said. "She was somebody's daughter, somebody's sister."

Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin said the woman was black, looked to be in her 30s, and died of upper body trauma, though homicide detectives weren't sure exactly how she died.

"It's obviously a homicide," Durkin said. "But at this point, we're still trying to figure out exactly who she is."

Blocker discovered the body about 12:30 p.m. and called 911. Police could not say whether the woman was killed in the alley or was dumped there. Durkin said the woman had not been dead longer than 24 hours.

The Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy. Meanwhile, homicide detectives are searching the area for clues.

This is the second time in two weeks that the partly nude body of a woman has been found.

On Nov. 25, the body of 47-year-old Kathleen Chattin was found floating in the Tampa Bypass Canal, just north of Sligh Avenue.

An autopsy proved inconclusive, and sheriff's detectives are awaiting the results of toxicology tests before they continue their investigation.

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