TAMPA (WFLA) – The body of a missing Hillsborough County woman in her 30s was found burning in a wooded area near the Sunshine Skyway bridge Wednesday night, sheriff’s office officials said Thursday.
Deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office did not release the woman’s name due to Marsy’s Law, however, they confirmed the victim is connected to a missing person case.
“It’s unclear at this time when the murder occurred or why it may have occurred so we’re asking all of you to help get this message out,” Chief Communications Officer Crystal Clark said in a Thursday afternoon news conference.
Deputies say the woman worked as a security guard at the Beach Walk apartment complex at 4349 Bayside Village Drive in the Town ‘N’ Country area. She was last seen there on Wednesday.
A concerned relative reported her missing around 7 p.m. after the woman had not returned home at her usual time. Deputies say they found her car in the apartment complex parking lot.
Around the same time deputies started the missing person investigation, St. Petersburg firefighters were extinguishing a fire in the wooded area just north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge rest area.
“It’s there that a body was discovered and, based on identifying markings and some preliminary investigating information, we have determined that this person is likely our missing woman,” Clark said.
Deputies say they are speaking with a person of interest from the apartment complex, but they are also hoping tips from the public can help them solve this case.
“Our detectives have identified a person of interest and are working to piece together this heinous crime,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “We are urging anyone who may have seen something suspicious, to please come forward. The more details we have, the faster we can make an arrest.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8200.