Woman's body found across from Tampa elementary school

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Tampa police are trying to identify a woman, found dead Tuesday afternoon.

Her body was discovered behind some bushes at West Spruce Street and North Oregon Avenue.

Without any wallet or form of identification, police don't know who she is, what happened to her, or how she got there. But, they're hoping a unique tattoo could help them connect the dots.

For days, neighbors felt something was off.

"My kids, they said they smelled something," said Dwayne Caldwell. "It's heavy."

Most hoped it was from an animal or trash. But Tuesday afternoon, their fears were confirmed.

"I was walking home and all I saw were these policemen taking pictures," said Ashton Caldwell. "They were taking pictures behind the bush."

Someone discovered the body of a woman behind the bushes, right across the street from Ernest E. Just Elementary School.

"We came out, and at this point, we have not been able to identify the body, haven't been able to tell exactly how the person died, so, we are asking for the public's help," said Steve Hegarty, Tampa Police Department Spokesperson.

Tampa Police are searching through missing person reports. They're hoping tattoos will help them identify the woman. She has one of a cross on her right arm and another on her abdomen. "We found a tattoo that we think is somewhat unique which is a sun and the words, 'the world is mine'," Hegarty said.

It's a case that's shaken up the neighborhood.

"That's kind of scary because I've got my children around here," said Dwayne Caldwell.

We met several neighbors who were actually too emotional to speak on-camera. They don't know who the woman is, where she's from, or what her story is. But, knowing they walked past those bushes, for days, unaware she was behind them, breaks their hearts and also has them worried about who may have done it.

"It's really hard to grasp things like this happening in this neighborhood. A lot of bad things happen around the streets out here," Dwayne Caldwell said.

Police are investigating this an "unexplained death." They'll consider it "suspicious" until they know exactly what happened and if anyone else was involved.
If anyone has any information that might lead to the identification of the body, they are asked to call Tampa Police at 813-231-6130.

The investigation is in the early stages. Tampa Police will release more details as they become available.