Burned body found in fire pit

Investigators with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office work the scene of a death investigation in northwest Alachua County off County Road 232 on Tuesday. The burned body of an unidentified adult was found in a shallow burn pit.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 1:13 a.m.
Deputies are awaiting results from the Medical Examiner's Office to determine the identity of a badly burned body found in a fire pit in northwestern Alachua County Tuesday afternoon.
But the discovery may be linked to the case of a missing man who residents along NW 181st Terrace, off County Road 232, last saw two days ago. The man, who has stayed on and off for years with a family living on the street, had been seen tending a fire in the pit on Saturday.
Theodore Brown, a resident on the street and described as the man's close friend, was out on his tractor searching for him when he discovered the body shortly after 3 p.m., Alachua County Sheriff's Lt. Jim Troiano said.
Investigators cannot say the body is that of the missing, middle-aged man without identification by the medical examiner, Troiano said.
Because of the condition of the body, deputies couldn't determine its race or sex except that it was the body of an adult.
Deputies also are not releasing the name of the missing man until they speak with his relatives.
Troiano said the pit, located in a wooded area off NW 181st Terrace, is an old septic tank about 2 feet deep that forms a square about 5 to 6 feet wide.
Deputies so far have found nothing suspicious at the scene.
But Troiano said investigators could make no determination about whether or not foul play was involved without further information about the identity of the body or the cause of death.
No report about the missing man was made to law enforcement until deputies were told about the body Tuesday, Troiano said. The man would frequently come and go, meaning people weren't immediately worried when he first disappeared.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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