HUDSON — Authorities are investigating the death of a man found in his house Tuesday morning. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is calling Theodore "Ted" Peck's death suspicious.
He was 53. Records show he had several brushes with the law and two stays in prison, but neighbors described Peck as a generous, kind man. The Sheriff's Office is releasing little about the case. Spokesman Doug Tobin said it did not appear to be a random attack.
"We don't believe there is a concern for the public at this point in our investigation," Tobin said.
A neighbor said several people lived with Peck at 7110 Stevens Drive, which is just off Old Dixie Highway. The home is light blue. The road is sand, bordered by thick trees. Other than dogs barking, there is little noise out this way.
Tobin said paramedics responded to the home at 11:21 a.m. Tuesday and found Peck unconscious. He was transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, where he died.
"The cause of his death is of concern to us and we are investigating," said Sgt. Eric Seltzer of the major crimes unit. He said there were no suspects in custody. The medical examiner's office will determine Peck's cause of death.
Among the people living at Peck's home was an older man with health problems and a transient whom Peck had persuaded to come inside from living in the woods, neighbors said. Peck called the man Pop, and treated him as family, even though they weren't related.
Peck had a troubled history, according to criminal records. He served two stints in prison, from 2000 to 2002 for child abuse and child neglect and 1983 to 1984 for burglary. The abuse and neglect case was in Port Richey. Peck's 2-year-old son was found wandering the streets by himself at 11 p.m. An officer recognized the child and knew Peck was the father. When officials got to Peck's home, he was lying on the kitchen floor. There was no food in the kitchen and only two 12-packs of beer and a bottle of orange juice in the refrigerator, authorities said. Peck woke up before paramedics arrived and told the officer he had been drinking.
Peck insisted the child never left the house.
Peck "showed no concern" about what could have happened to his child, the officer wrote in a report.
On May 17, Peck was charged with possession of oxycodone and possession of drug paraphernalia, Pasco court records say. It was his sixth run-in with the law in Pasco since his release from prison in 2002.
In March 2010, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
He previously pleaded no contest to battery and several traffic charges; having no motor vehicle registration, no valid driver's license and knowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Neighbor Brian McClaughry said Peck was a good man. When rats chewed through the electrical cords running to McClaughry's trailer, Peck let him use his electricity, running cords across the street, until McClaughry could get his wiring fixed.
"He didn't have to do that," McClaughry, 61. "He was a really nice guy."
Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.