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Real estate appraiser Van Slyke found dead at home

BROOKSVILLE — Brooksville police are investigating the slaying of 58-year-old real estate appraiser Steven Floyd Van Slyke, whose body was found early Tuesday afternoon inside his home at 27 Cherry St.

Authorities have not released the manner in which Van Slyke died.

Earlier in the day, police reported the victim's 2004 gold-colored Volvo with the license number 163-KIV was missing. The vehicle was recovered shortly after 6 p.m., said police Chief George Turner, who declined to say where police found the Volvo.

"We've been getting good cooperation from neighbors," Turner said as he watched forensic technicians from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office work inside the residence.

Turner said his department heard of the death about 1:30 p.m. after a friend of Van Slyke's entered the home and discovered the body.

The beige two-story home is in a quiet neighborhood off Howell Avenue, about one block south of Hernando High School. Hernando County Property Appraiser records indicate Van Slyke has owned the house on Cherry Street since 1983.

Brooksville Vice Mayor Lara Bradburn, a longtime friend of Van Slyke, described him as "very congenial, a person that people instantly took to."

Bradburn said Van Slyke worked for a time at Rogers' Christmas House before deciding to go into the real estate business.

A past president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors, Van Slyke was co-owner of a home appraisal service, Van Slyke & Jessop Appraisers.

Brooksville Realtor and the 1999 president for the Hernando County Association of Realtors Gary Schraut was overcome with emotion Tuesday evening as he talked about Van Slyke, whom he had known for more than 20 years.

"This was a good guy,'' Schraut said. "We lost a part of us today.''

Schraut worked for him in 1988 and 1989 and he said he had tremendous respect for Van Slyke and for the level of love he had for the business.

At a "past presidents" meeting several weeks ago, Schraut recalled kidding about Van Slyke being so involved in Realtor group activities. "He served on every committee from education to personal standards,'' Schraut said. "He loved the Hernando County Association of Realtors.''

Schraut expressed anger that anyone could harm his friend.

"Rest assured,'' he said. "We're going to catch these sons of bitches.''

Times staff writer Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report. Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or 848-1435.

Real estate appraiser Van Slyke found dead at home 01/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 8:47pm]
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