Body found in remote Hendry

Artist’s rendering of unidentified man while alive. (Special to the Caloosa Belle/NamUs)

HENDRY COUNTY — The body of a deceased white male Caucasian reportedly was found in a remote wildlife area, drawing a response from state and local law enforcement agencies recently.

An emailed tip to this newspaper provided a link to the NamUs website, that of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, where the discovery of the unrecognizable human remains, with all parts recovered, was reported near Clewiston.

The man was reported to be an adult of unknown age between 18 and 60, whose height and weight could not be estimated, with straight brown hair about an inch long on top and shorter on the sides, a brown and gray goatee but no mustache, and blue eyes. An artist’s rendering of the deceased man as he might have appeared while alive is also on the site (namus.gov).

According to a heavily redacted report provided by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Sheriff’s Deputy Darrin McNeil was dispatched at 9:38 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, to the Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area located on County Road 833 in reference to a “suspicious incident.”

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer then arrived at the scene, and a Hendry County detective, Sgt. Julio Perez, was contacted and instructed Deputy McNeil to turn the case and scene over to the FWC. All other details had been removed from the Hendry County sheriff’s report.

HCSO spokeswoman Capt. Susan Harrelle said Wednesday, Oct. 17, that the case has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for further investigation. FDLE Public Information Officer Jessica Cary in Tallahassee stated that in checking with the regional office, she learned that “FDLE is investigating a suspicious incident that occurred in the area,” but that she could provide no other information because it is an active investigation. “I can’t confirm that a body was located,” Ms. Cary said.

The case file on the NamUs website (Case No. 52719) identifies FDLE Special Agent Nathan Coogan in Highlands County as being in charge of the investigation.

Anyone who might have information regarding this case may reach Agent Coogan at 863-386-6085. Carrie Sutherland is the contact at NamUs and can be emailed at carrie.sutherland@unthsc.edu.

The NamUs website is a nationwide information clearinghouse created through the efforts of several government agencies led by the National Institute of Justice, and is now operated by the University of North Texas Health Science Center and its Center for Human Identification.

Chris Felker can be reached at cfelker@newszap.com

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