Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Remains found in Spring HIll belonged to missing man

SPRING HILL — When Jodie Sheehan woke up on Feb. 25, she knew her brother was dead.

She had dreamed it.

Panicked, the Tampa resident scoured the Internet and called anyone who might have known where to locate her sibling, Paul Kulek. She never found him.

On that same day, Sheehan later learned, a man walking his dog in Spring Hill had made a startling discovery: a human skull. On Wednesday, Hernando County sheriff's deputies announced that the skull, and other bones found in the area, belonged to Sheehan's brother.

Kulek, authorities told her, had climbed 50 feet up a secluded tree in some woods near Lema and Gretna drives and hanged himself.

He suffered from bipolar disorder and struggled through a lifetime of drug addiction, his sister said. He would have been 41.

In Florida, he had been arrested 30 times. He stole cars and cash and wrote bad checks. Around age 8 or 9, Sheehan said, he smoked marijuana. That turned into crack cocaine, then heroin, then methamphetamine.

"All of his troubles," she said, "were related to drugs."

Kulek served five stints in state prison, records show, the latest running from July 2006 to February 2010.

Sheehan, 43, saw her brother for the last time within weeks of his release. Their father, William, had passed away in late 2009. Kulek came to his sister's home to pick up paperwork so he could collect some inheritance money. He was high.

That July, she said, he called her. He wanted to visit Sheehan and her kids. She wanted that, too, but told her brother he needed to stay clean for a year before she could let him visit.

"I promise," he said. "I promise."

Investigators also found a white, powdery substance in a backpack located at the scene. They told her it was likely a drug.

When sober, she said, Kulek acted like a different person. He was kind and generous and loved his family.

He learned to be a journeyman electrician around age 20. In prison, he became a certified chef.

The drugs always lured him back, though.

"I just miss knowing that I had my brother," she said. "I miss him being clean."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Reach John Woodrow Cox at (352) 848-1432 or

Remains found in Spring HIll belonged to missing man 03/07/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 9:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  2. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]
  3. Tests show North Korea earthquake not caused by nuclear test


    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's weather agency said a magnitude 3.2 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

    People watch a TV news program reporting North Korea's earthquake, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. South Korea's weather agency said an earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural. The signs read " The weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea." [Associated Press]
  4. Forecast: Tampa Bay's first fall weekend brings scattered showers


    It may officially be fall, but Tampa Bay won't have any cooler temperatures this weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Romano: The choice does not have to be poverty or gentrification

    Local Government

    The memories must be protected. The music and the lore, too.

    The owner of Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food is refusing to give the city information on the restaurant's sales as required by his contract to occupy the city-owned Manhattan Casino. The information is needed to calculate whether the nonprofit Urban Development Solutions, headed by Larry Newsome, owes the city more than the $3,000 monthly base rent.