Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 a.m.
A woman was found dead this morning (Jan. 24), floating in the water just beneath the docks in the Intracoastal Waterway at Hidden Treasure restaurant in Flagler Beach. She was identified on Jan. 25 as Janice Washburn, 68, a resident of Edgemont Lane in Palm Coast.
Washburn was detected by a jogger on the Flagler Beach bridge just before 11 a.m. Monday.
“We had a citizen that was out jogging this morning,” Flagler Beach Police Chief Matthew Doughney said from the scene, “stopped atop of the bridge, looking northbound, saw something that appeared like what he felt originally was a mannequin, flagged somebody down to come down and checked it out.”
Washburn was floating face up, wearing what appeared to be dark jeans and a light blue shirt. “No signs of foul play at this time, no visible signs of trauma,” the police chief said.
Doughney on Tuesday reiterated the determination that there had been no foul play, which strongly suggests suicide. An autopsy was being conducted at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Augustine.
The body was still in the water just before noon Monday, after a unit from the Flagler Beach Fire Department pronounced Washburn dead. “The firefighters actually went in the water to pronounce, to make sure if there’s life-saving methods, that’s what they were going to do,” Doughney said, “but all hope in this case was lost, so from there on out, you don’t know what you have, so to err on the side of caution, you don’t move the body until you get the people in place” that can further analyze the evidence.
Flagler Beach Detective Liz Williams was at the scene, with the The Medical Examiner on his way from St. Augustine. Only the Medical Examiner is authorized to remove the body. Police were examining vehicles in the Hidden Treasures parking lot to determine if any are connected to the woman. The restaurant was closed on Monday, as it usually is, and was not to open until noon today. The location of the body was parallel to the restaurant’s parking lot, with that segment of the docks roped off with crime-scene tape.
There was no way to determine how Washburn ended up where she was, or why she was at that very spot, given the tides on the Intracoastal–not yet, anyway, Doughney said, suggesting that officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission might shed more light on the tide’s effects. That, combined with the determination of how long the woman has been in the water, will help narrow down the circumstances her death.
“She could have been from St. Augustine or she could have been from Daytona, we don’t know,” Doughney said.
Washburn had lived in Palm Coast’s E-Section with her husband William since 2008.
The area where she was found has been the location of suicides and attempted suicides in the recent past, because of the proximity of the Flagler Beach Bridge. In March 2013, a 40-year-old man attempted suicide by jumping off the bridge on the same, north side of the bridge. A 53-year-old man attempted suicide by the same method in April 2014. In October 2015, a 22-year-old man, Edwin Lynch, jumped from the south side of the bridge onto the pavement of Betty Steflik Park below, and died.