Woman found in area river identified


Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 10:35 p.m.
Investigators tentatively identified a woman's body found in the St. Johns River last week as that of 21-year-old Mary Francis Pickett of Eastpoint in the Florida Panhandle, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
Positive identification of the body will not be confirmed until dental records are checked, said Mary Justino, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.
Justino said investigators characterize the death as "suspicious" and said it might involve foul play. She would not release specific details about the cause of death since the investigation is ongoing.
Detectives hope releasing Pickett's identity will yield tips about her whereabouts before she went missing.
"There might be someone out there who passed her on the street and maybe saw her getting into a car," Justino said.
After finding the woman's body, the Sheriff's Office queried other law enforcement agencies in the area about possible matching identities, Justino said.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office notified Clay County deputies that Pickett's grandmother reported her missing on Jan. 13.
Pickett, who was visiting family in Carabell, ran away after getting into an argument with her mother, according to a deputy's report.
Pickett's grandmother told the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office that she had a "mental impairment."
A Jacksonville Sheriff's deputy contacted a sergeant in the Franklin City Sheriff's Office, who said he was familiar with Pickett and that she had the mental capacity of a 10-year-old.

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