Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Officials confirm identity of body found in Clearwater storage unit

CLEARWATER — The strange saga that began when a 95-year-old woman's remains were found in a Clearwater storage unit this year appears to have come to an end, after police announced Wednesday that DNA testing had confirmed her identity.

In January, Ann Bunch was discovered in a plywood coffin kept in the U-Stor Self Storage unit. Her granddaughter, Clearwater resident Rebecca Ann Fancher, said her mother had placed Bunch in storage because she did not have the means to transport her to her preferred burial plot in Alabama.

As the Tampa Bay Times reported, Bunch's unusual resting place came to light when U-Stor managers threatened to auction off Fancher's possessions because of late rent payments.

Fancher's ex-husband, John Setlow, said at the time that Bunch's daughter, Bobbie Barnett Hancock, was a hoarder, or compulsive collector of trash. She might have kept her mom's corpse around because she had trouble accepting the fact that she was dead, Setlow said.

Clearwater Public Safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said no criminal charges resulted from the incident. Improper storage of a human body is a crime, she said, but it appears that responsibility for putting Bunch's corpse in storage rested with Hancock, who is now dead.

With the results of the DNA testing, the case is officially closed, Watts said.

Fancher said Wednesday that a Masonic lodge with ties to Bunch's second husband agreed to pay for transporting the body to its original destination: the churchyard at Summer Hill Baptist Church, near Columbiana, Ala.

Bunch is now buried there next to Hancock, she said.

"Mother and daughter are now up there, side by side," Fancher said.

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157.

Officials confirm identity of body found in Clearwater storage unit 10/03/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 5:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Large brush fire burning in Brooker Creek Preserve near Westchase

    Fire

    A large brush fire is burning early Thursday morning in the Brooker Creek Preserve just north of Oldsmar near Westchase, but appears to be contained, according to reports.

  2. Clearwater confronts a new wave of homeless people, many addicted to spice

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Having lived on the streets since 2014, when he said God ordered him to go out and watch over the homeless, Scott Elfstrom has seen new faces brought out by the typical drugs, despair or plain bad luck.

    Clearwater police Sgt. Rodney Johnson talks to a group of homeless people near the Clearwater Police Department. Johnson has worked to decrease the amount of spice being used in the homeless population.
  3. Preservation group's efforts help revitalize Hudson Cemetery

    Human Interest

    HUDSON — Since the 1970s, the area's unhoused could count on Hudson Cemetery as a place to eat, drink and doze. They would crouch behind bushes on the 2 acres — sandwiched between an ABC liquor store and a shopping center — and leave behind beer cans, cigarette butts and rotting clothes. They would …

    Dennis Kingsley, former president of the Hudson Cemetery Preservation Association, looks at recently cleaned headstones at the cemetery. It got a new fence and was cleared of weeds and brush in June.
  4. Adam Putnam
  5. Forecast: Summertime heat, late-day showers soldier on in Tampa Bay

    Weather

    The summertime pattern of hot temperatures and afternoon showers continues through the second half of the week across Tampa Bay.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]