Deputies investigating homicide at Hillsborough cemetery

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Deputies are investigating the death of an adult male who was found dead among the gravestones at the Fellowship Primative Baptist Church in Wimauma.

The body was found by a visitor who was paying respects to their own family members at around 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

"I don't know what to think," said cemetery caretaker Earl Standalan.

His great-grandfather opened the church and cemetery on County Route 674 in 1876.

He believes Monday was the first day it was filled with deputies, investigating anything beyond a teenagers or migrant workers drinking beer, let alone a dead body.

"I was real shocked that it did happen," said Standalan. "People come and go as they please here."

His grandson, Scott Fitzpatrick, an attorney and fifth-generation Floridian, attended church there as a child.

"It's around a forty-acre piece of property," he said. "The cemetery is a little over ten acres. People have access to it 24-hours a day, but even over the years, that hasn't been a problem for us."

He says deputies told him the body was found near a vehicle.
"It's a community cemetery," he said. "It was founded for the church and community to have a place, we don't have a lot of cemeteries in this corner of the county."

For a grounds that has so much history -- the 140-year-old outhouse still stands -- the body represents a new chapter, whose last sentence is still unknown.

"We are anxious to learn more from the sheriff's department, so we can find out what happened on the church's property," said Fitzpatrick. "We are as anxious as you so we can get to the bottom of this."

Deputies will not say how the victim died, just that it was an adult male with "trauma to the torso."