Human Remains Found In Backyard Believed To Be Missing Man
Published May 22nd, 2014
OCALA - Medical examiners and investigators from the UF Human Identification Lab are digging for more clues in a 14-year-old missing person case. Investigators are tying human remains buried in a backyard in Ocala to a possible unreported homicide from the year 2000.
The remains have not been positively identified, which leaves neighbors with many unanswered questions. The remains were found under the floor of a small outbuilding.
"I thought my brother was playing a joke on me.” The investigation began April 1st but was far from an April fool's joke. Patricia Whiting who currently lives in the home under investigation said she thought this was, "Unreal, not real... I mean this is something you read about, see on TV but you don't expect it to be at your place."
Law enforcement showed up at Whiting's home on Southwest 89th place in Ocala and said, they thought there was a body buried in your backyard.
Whiting rents from her family who lives next door-- the Deckard's. "I thought it was all a game when it happened. This isn't really going on, come on. This doesn't happen to normal people in normal quiet neighborhoods," Sally Deckard said.
Detectives believe the body belongs to 72-year-old Jerry Chirstilaw, who used to live in this house. He has not been seen since 2000. According to the investigation by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Chirstilaw died during a domestic dispute and was buried in the backyard.
"The witnesses that came forward indicated that he was not reported missing and so we did not have an established case on a missing person," said Judge Cochran a spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
The site has been excavated twice. Wednesday actual remains were discovered in the backyard under the laundry room. "When they came back a second time they flew a family member in and he kind of said, this is where it's at. And they started to dig on that and there he was," Deckard said.
At this point Whiting just hopes that the remains in her backyard receive a proper burial. "They need to be punished, they need to be responsible for what they've done," she added.
The Marion County Sheriff’s office has not identified a suspect. They are asking for the public's help. If you know anything please contact them at (352) 732-9111 (non-emergency line).
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