TAMPA — The bones that were found in Plant City woods on Wednesday have been identified as a Tampa man who went missing in April.
Police said Ryan J. Darkins Davis, then 20, and a friend, 21-year-old Carl Walters, disappeared from Walters' home at 1810 E Humprey St. on April 5.
Walters was found murdered in Plant City woods, and his brother, Derrick E. Cullins, who lived with Walters in the Humprey Street home, was charged with his murder.
Walters and Davis were students at Hillsborough Community College.
Authorities say Cullins stabbed his brother 18 times during an attack before dumping the body in the woods, and he went to "great lengths to get rid of evidence," Assistant State Attorney Michelle Doherty told the St. Petersburg Times in April.
Investigators have not revealed theories about a motive.
Davis was presumed dead, but detectives never found a body. They searched for weeks in the Hillsborough County landfill and solicited tips from the community with no success.
When they heard that a skull found in Plant City on Wednesday seemed to belong to a black male in his 20s — Davis' description — they took notice and went to the scene.
Davis was identified by his dental records, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.
"We're looking at Derrick E. Cullins as possibly being involved in Ryan's death, but it's still an active investigation, and we're not ready to file further charges," McElroy said.
Police met with Davis' family on Wednesday to tell them the news.
"On one hand, it offers closure to find out what happened to your son," McElroy said. "But your last hope is extinguished."
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