WESLEY CHAPEL — Tramping through the woods Thursday morning, a group of hunters stumbled across something on the forest floor: human bones. They were scattered in a way that investigators would later say only animals could have done.
The call to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office came around 10 a.m.
By early afternoon, a 200-foot swath across from the Wesley Chapel Storage building at 26504 Wesley Chapel Blvd. was cordoned off by Sheriff's Office tape, which snaked into the nearby woods and out of view from the road. Investigators combed through the dead leaves, palmettos and snarls of vines.
About 30 yards into the woods stood a clutch of numbered evidence flags. A forensics investigator emerged from the woods to retrieve more of the yellow flags, which were numbering in the 20s.
Investigators don't know how long the body had been there. Nor had they determined if the remains belonged to a man or woman; no clothes were found.
"We've just got bones," said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. "That's all we've got."
An investigation is under way to determine the cause of death and whether foul play was involved.
At the storage building, manager Susan Green said she's seen homeless people in those woods before, but "I never knew what was back there." A homeless camp is nearby.
One of her customers, Harrison Finley, stood in the parking lot with a cellphone to his ear and described the scene to his friends.
"You never expect to see something like that in this neighborhood. It's quiet out here," he said, scratching his chin and peering into the woods.
"But you hate to think that something happened to somebody and nobody reported it."