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Two men sought for questioning in slaying of Brooksville appraiser

BROOKSVILLE — Police have released surveillance photos of two men and a pickup truck that they believe are connected to the slaying Tuesday of Brooksville real estate appraiser Steven Floyd Van Slyke.

Brooksville police would not say where the photos were taken or provide further details on the two black men other than saying they are attempting to locate and identify the pair, who were shown in separate photos.

The two men, along with Monty Gregg Albright, another man earlier Wednesday identified as a "person of interest'' in the case, were last seen in a 1999 maroon Ford F-150 pickup truck with a silver toolbox in the truck bed, according to a news release.

Albright, 35, was described by authorities as a homeless man known to frequent the area. He is 5 feet 9 and weighs 160 pounds. Police Chief George Turner would not say why Albright is thought to be connected to the case, but said police believe that Albright is still in the area.

"Hopefully, he's still here," Turner said Wednesday.

"We really would like to talk to him in reference to this case. As far as everything else pertaining to the investigation, all that is yet to come."

Van Slyke, 58, was found dead inside his home at 27 Cherry St. after a friend entered the home around 1:30 p.m. and discovered the body, according to police. Authorities would not disclose details of the manner in which Van Slyke was killed.

An autopsy of Van Slyke's body was set for today, Turner said. This is the first slaying in Brooksville this year.

Van Slyke's gold-colored Volvo was initially reported missing but it was recovered shortly after 6 p.m. Police would give no details on the car's location or who might have taken it from the victim's home.

Van Slyke's beige two-story home is in a quiet, oak tree-shaded 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.

Well-known within Hernando County real estate circles, Van Slyke was co-owner of a home appraisal service called Van Slyke & Jessop. He was the 1999 president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors.

Eric Jessop is co-owner of the appraisal service and recently listed his address as 27 Cherry St., according to public records. He wasn't immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Turner, however, said Van Slyke lived alone.

"He kept to himself a lot," Turner said of Van Slyke. "The neighbors didn't seem to know him that well. But obviously, he was a well-known person in Hernando County."

Hernando County Association of Realtors president Marilyn Pearson-Adams said Van Slyke's death came as quite a blow to the tight-knit group of local Realtors.

"It's a great loss to our community," Pearson-Adams said. "There is a hole in our hearts that may never be filled."

Times staffer Logan Neill contributed to this report. Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Two men sought for questioning in slaying of Brooksville appraiser 01/21/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 8:07pm]
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