TAMPA, Fla. - Deputies say a body found at a fire near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge appears to be a Hillsborough County murder victim. Now, they’re asking the public for help solving the case.
It was around 8 p.m. Wednesday when Hillsborough deputies responded to the Beachwalk condo complex off Bay Pointe Drive in the Town ‘n Country area. A relative had contacted deputies, concerned about a woman who had gone missing.
About that same time, crews responded to a fire near the rest area on the Pinellas County side of the bridge. After extinguishing the flames, they found human remains.
It did not take investigators long to link the two cases.
"Based on identifying markings, and some preliminary investigative information, we’ve determined that this person is likely our missing woman," explained HCSO spokesperson Crystal Clark.
Clark declined to name the murder victim, identifying her only as a woman in her 30s who worked as a security guard at the complex. Her car was still there when police came to check on her.
Detectives are not yet sure when the murder happened or even how the woman died.
"It may not have been the fire; it may have occurred prior," Clark noted.
Deputies do have a person of interest in the case, but they are asking for tips as they continue to investigate.
"The people who live in that apartment complex are the eyes and ears for our sheriff’s office," Clark added. "They may have been outside in their car in the parking lot at the time this occurred, they may have looked out their window and seen something suspicious. All of that is what can help us solve this case faster."
Deputies rifled through a car looking for evidence at the Beach Walk apartment complex, 30 miles from where her body was found Wednesday night.
It's unclear as to whether it was her car, but deputies did say they found her car at the complex.
"We don't have to do this to each other," said Amado Rocamora, who lives nearby. "She seemed like a very nice person, just from what I have seen."
Deputies could not say if she had a boyfriend or was married, but they do have a person of interest.
They did not say how they may have - or may not have - known each other.