Dead Person Found Decomposing Behind Walmart; Identity and Cause Unconfirmed
FlaglerLive | July 6, 2015
A dead person was found decomposing in one of the ponds behind Walmart the morning of July 4.
While “nothing here at all is screaming oh, a homicide,” a Flagler County Sheriff;’s spokesman said, the sheriff’s office is not releasing information about the discovery, saying it could become pertinent if the death is determined to be suspicious.
For now, the death isn’t being termed suspicious, nor is it being termed a homicide, an accident or a natural death, the spokesman said: even the identity of the person has not been positively made. The body was removed by the Palm Coast Fire Department and taken by the medical examiner to St. Augustine. The examiner will determine a cause of death and most likely lead to a positive identification of the body.
The retention pond, one of three that curve around Cypress Edge Drive, is located along the back end of the Walmart store, between Walmart’s access road and Cypress Edge, opposite the pond.
Even the person’s sex remains uncertain, according to the sheriff’s office. A Walmart employee who was present at the time of the discovery on Independence Day said the word then was that it was a man, but that very little else was known to anyone.
On request, the sheriff’s office issued an incident report on the discovery, but the report is almost entirely redacted down to the two names, addresses, race, sex and birth dates of two individuals listed, one identified as “other” and one “parent.” Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s spokesman, said the names will be provided, but he said “the names in the report don’t make them associated with the parts that are redacted.”
“What’s redacted from here is not that we’re trying to hide something, it’s just that we don’t have anything to work with right now,” Troiano said. With positive identification still lacking, no next-of-kin notification has been made. The incident report does make a reference to “the family members,” but the redaction makes it impossible to determine the context of the phrase. There is also surveillance video taken from behind Walmart, which Walmart employees were asked to review.
The individual is not a child, Troiano said, and had been dead a matter of days or at most weeks.
The case is “an active death investigation” and an active criminal investigation, Troiano said, even though no crime for now is known to have occurred. Authorities may redact information from such incident reports if they are directly relevant to an active criminal investigation. In this case, the content of the incident report is being redacted in anticipation of the possibility that the case turns into a suspicious or an actual criminal investigation.
It is the second discovery of a decomposing person in a public area of Palm Coast in three months. At the end of April, a 25-year-old man was found in a vacant, wooded lot at the north end of Boulder Rock Drive, with advanced decomposition. That death was determined to be a suicide by gunshot.