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Fatal shooting victim found on porch in Pasco

Investigators on Sunday work the scene of a killing in which a woman was found shot to death on her porch in rural Pasco County. Authorities said they had no motive or suspects.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Investigators on Sunday work the scene of a killing in which a woman was found shot to death on her porch in rural Pasco County. Authorities said they had no motive or suspects.

LAND O'LAKES — There was a blast of gunfire, a cloud of dust and then a blue truck sped off down the gravel road that leads out of the rural neighborhood.

Lee Brown thought nothing of it, even when he noticed his neighbor lying on her front porch later Saturday evening. There's a shooting range nearby and the sound of guns is common.

"I thought she was sunbathing, you know," Brown said. "She was lying on her back."

But then Brown saw the woman on the porch Sunday morning, her position unchanged.

He soon learned that Diane Yeager-Lombard, 51, had died of a gunshot wound at her home at 9665 Bahia Loop in Land O'Lakes.

Other neighbors told Pasco County sheriff's detectives they heard one or more gunshots late Saturday afternoon, and hours later saw Yeager-Lombard on the open porch. Deputies were not called until Sunday morning.

"We're trying to connect the two — the shots being heard yesterday and her being seen on the porch," said Kevin Doll, a spokesman with the Sheriff's Office. "No one thought anything was suspicious at the time.''

Doll said Sunday evening that detectives had no suspects or a motive. He released no additional information.

Hillsborough County court records show that Yeager-Lombard filed for divorce from her husband, Emanuel Lombard, in September 2004.

Emanuel Lombard could not be reached Sunday.

Residents say gunshots are heard frequently in this bucolic part of Pasco, just east of U.S. 41. The shooting range is only blocks from Yeager-Lombard's land.

Her neighbors had little fear of serious crime in such a secluded area.

Brown, who has a relatively clear view of Yeager-Lombard's porch from his front door, said he heard gunfire about 5 p.m. as he walked across a cow pasture toward his home.

He said he then saw the blue truck racing down the street. Later, Brown was on his way to clean out a mobile home on his property when he passed by Yeager-Lombard's home and saw her, but dismissed it.

"I didn't put it all together," he said.

But after church Sunday morning, Brown said, he learned that his neighbor had been killed and that authorities were on the way.

"I wish I had at least gone to look" earlier, he said.

Neighbors described Yeager-Lombard as a friendly mother of a college-age daughter. She mostly lived alone, tended her three horses and put lots of work into fixing up the modest home on her 2-acre lot. She bought the home in February 2006, according to county property records.

"She did everything over here by herself," said neighbor Kathy Farina. "She was a great neighbor."

"She was a very nice lady," said neighbor, Bea Hodson, who stopped by the home Sunday afternoon to feed the horses. "It's just a shock.''

Times staff writer Jonathan Abel contributed to this report. Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Fatal shooting victim found on porch in Pasco 05/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2:05pm]
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