May 1 Update–The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, following a preliminary autopsy by the medical examiner, has confirmed that the remains found on the Flagler County side of Flagler Estates Tuesday morning are those of Barbara Parchem, the 67-year-old woman who went missing from her Vermont Heights home on April 5.
Parchem died from blunt force trauma, Dr. Predag Bulic’s autopsy found, so her death is being investigated as a homicide.
Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Robbery/Homicide Section are continuing to seek information in the case. Robbery/Homicide detectives are coordinating with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office (Homicide Investigative Unit) as the investigation continues. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office will remain the lead agency on the case.
A person of interest in the case has been identified and detectives continue to question witnesses and examine evidence in the case. Anyone who has information about this case is asked to contact Detective Jeremy Russell at (904)209-2193 or Crime Stoppers.
Tuesday Evening’s Story:
Human Remains Found in Flagler Estates Soon After Search for Barbara Parchem Led There
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that human remains were located Tuesday morning (April 30) in a concealed and remote section of Flagler Estates, the vacant subdivision in northwest Flagler County.
Speculation and earlier reports from the sheriff’s office are focusing on Barbara Parchem, the 67-year-old waitress from Vermont Heights, near Elkton, last see on April 5.
Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office along with assistance from the Florida Wildlife Commission began searching in the area at 7:30 a.m., the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page this evening, specifying that “the remains were actually located in Flagler County.”
This morning, the sheriff’s office said the coordinated search was, in fact, for Parchem, whose disappearance had been judged by law enforcement earlier this month to be the result of foul play. Police asked the public this morning to avoid Flagler Estates, an expanse of some 2,700 acres subdivided and sold, sight unseen, to speculators and prospective homeowners, in the 1970s. The subdivision straddles the Flagler County-St. Johns County line. No houses were ever built on the Flagler side.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was notified and responded, as did evidence technicians who began processing the scene for any potential evidence. The decomposed remains were to be taken to the District Medical Examiner in St. Augustine for an autopsy and to positively identify the victim.
Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Robbery/Homicide Unit are continuing the investigation.
On April 26, St. Johns detectives reported that “significant progress” had been made in the search for Parchem, but that because of the length of the disappearance, foul play was suspected. She was described as 5’3”, 100 pounds with brown eyes, short brown hair with blonde highlights, and was identified in a series of surveillance camera photographs.
“In the weeks following Parchem’s disappearance, detectives conducted searches by ground, air, and off-road vehicles in the area of her Vermont Heights home,” she sheriff’s office reported a week ago. Parchem’s car, a Nissan Pathfinder, was seen by witnesses in the Southwest portion of St. Johns County in the afternoon of April 5, corresponding with the area of Flagler Estates.
Friend’s of the victim were offering a reward to anyone with information leading to her whereabouts. Anyone with any information concerning this investigation is asked to contact Detective Jeremy Russell at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at (904) 209-2193. You can also call CrimeStoppers of N.E. Florida and possibly be eligible for a cash reward at 1-(888) 277-TIPS (8477).