Tampa Bay Cold Case Project | CASE 1
- Hillsborough County Cold Case Service Learning Initiative
"5 Cases in 5 Weeks"
CASE 1 / CASE 1 in Spanish
- HCSO Case No: HCSO 2009-146233
MEO Case No: ME09-01777
USF Case No: USF09-002
NamUs Link: https://identifyus.org/cases/4976
- One day a man was out looking for bottles to sell near Palmetto Road and heard the sound of puppies yelping. As he made his way off the roadway to investigate the sound, he noticed something strange behind some bushes and stumbled upon a human skull and a pair of pants. The man called his friend and his own son to confirm that the skull was human before the son contacted the authorities.
- On March 14, 2009 the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office found the body of a deceased male child believed to be of Hispanic origin. The child was found just off the roadway in a partially wooded area near the intersection of Palmetto Road and Surona Road in Hillsborough County, Florida. The child’s identity is currently unknown.
The child is approximately 12-16 years of age, and is about 4’9” to 5’4” tall. Chemical isotope analysis indicates that the child was foreign born, and additional information suggest that the child is possibly from Guatemala. A forensic anthropologist investigated the case, and found evidence of pronounced skeletal markers associated with heavy manual labor. Markers of this kind are often associated with agricultural labor. These markers are not common in children of this age, and thus could be an excellent marker of identity. There are several produce packing facilities located within a short distance of the site where the deceased child was found, so it is possible that the child may have labored for one of these produce packing companies.
Several articles of clothing and personal affects were found with the child. A pair of “Ice Pole” brand jeans (size 30X29½) with black and yellow block print reading “ICE POLE USA” down the sides of legs, a black nylon Chopper brand wallet with a chain, a red lighter, and cigarettes/cigarette wrappers were found with the deceased. A “La Tarjeta Gorda” telephone card was found on the child. Several phone calls were made to Guatemala from the phone card, so it is possible that the child is of Guatemalan origin. The Sheriff’s Office also found that this brand of card is often used to call Mexico.
A facial reconstruction that may resemble this individual was created by Joe Mullins at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Reconstructions of the individual’s clothing were created by the Forensic Anthropology Laboratory at the University of South Florida.
If you have any information regarding the identity of this individual based on the above description and/or the facial and clothing reconstructions, please contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Please contact Detective Tom Pettis at 813-247-8662, or call the Criminal Investigations Division at 813-247-8600.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)(www.Missingkids.com) has assisted in attempts to identify this child. NCMEC is a private, non-profit organization created in 1984 to provide information and resources to law enforcement, families, and children regarding missing and exploited children. While a positive identification in this case has not been made, the services NCMEC provides are a valuable resource regarding these issues throughout the United States. For more information or to request assistance from NCMEC please call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
If you are looking for a missing person, contact The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) at www.NamUs.gov. NamUs is an online source that enables the public to search for as well as enter information about missing individuals. Many families have found their missing loved one by searching the site for unidentified individuals.
- Other Unidentified Cold Cases in Hillsborough County, Florida: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/medexam/about/unidentified.cfm