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Hillsborough code inspectors to scrutinize area where Valrico boy died in septic tank

VALRICO — Hillsborough County code inspectors plan to sweep the mobile home park where a missing 2-year-old boy was discovered dead Saturday inside an uncovered septic tank.

Inspectors will go through the Silver Lane Mobile Home Park today, Hillsborough County code enforcement director Dexter Barge said Sunday.

"We're going to take a look at the entire park and look for anything that might be a hazard," he said.

The body of Luis Martinez was found in the underground tank less than 50 yards from his family's mobile home, officials said. He is believed to have slipped through an 11- by 13-inch opening in the tank that was hidden by grass.

Barge said county records showed no complaints related to the tank. Code enforcement did have cases related to an accumulation of junk or trash at the park in 1996 and 1999. It also had a case related to a zoning or permitting problem, apparently concerning an unpermitted mobile home, in 2003. In all three cases, someone brought the property into compliance, officials said.

Hillsborough County property appraiser's records indicate the park is owned by a company called Silver Lane LLC. The company is inactive, according to Florida corporate records, but its sole officer was Kenneth Winter, who listed the park's Valrico address as his own on reports to the state.

On Sunday, the Times contacted a man named Kenneth Winter at his home in Dover, a few miles north of the park.

When a reporter told Winter he wanted to ask him about the Silver Lane Mobile Home Park and the septic tank, Winter said, "I'd rather not talk about it. You'll have to leave now."

Meanwhile, a steady stream of well-wishers stopped by a makeshift memorial just outside the park throughout the day.

Some paused to pray at the memorial, which consisted of scores of candles, stuffed animals and floral arrangements. Some offered their condolences to Luis' parents, Juan Martinez and Rosalina Ramirez, who came to the memorial around dusk.

And some dropped off donations of cash, gift cards, and clothes, food and supplies for the couple's 2-month-old daughter, Adelina Martinez.

Through an interpreter, Juan Martinez remembered his son as a "good boy" who loved to say hello and goodbye to people he saw when the family went shopping. Martinez said the couple had gotten little rest but appreciated the outpouring of support. "God bless everyone who came," he said.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

Hillsborough code inspectors to scrutinize area where Valrico boy died in septic tank 11/29/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009 10:27pm]
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