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Woman found dead in mobile home park

The Sheriff's Office is looking for the boyfriend of the slain woman, known only as Karen.

A week ago, the woman even friends knew only as "Karen" slipped a note with some phone numbers to her new boss at the Boardwalk Tavern.

"If anything happens to me, call my family," Sharon Smith, who owns the tavern and hired Karen to tend bar, recalls the woman saying.

Karen, Smith said, was afraid of her boyfriend.

Early Sunday morning, a trailer park owner found Karen's lifeless body in an old recreational vehicle that was stored on his property at 2601 50th Ave. N.

The Sheriff's Office announced late Sunday night it considers the case a homicide and is looking for 40-year-old Jeffrey K. Manes, Karen's boyfriend.

Manes was under suspicion throughout the day Sunday. One friend said Manes showed up at his mobile home at 7 a.m. Sunday, looking for a cold beer. By early afternoon, Karen's boss passed the note, which she had stashed in the bottom of the Boardwalk's cash register, to sheriff's detectives.

All afternoon, mobile home park neighbors and Boardwalk patrons talked of Karen's stormy relationship with her boyfriend.

The Sheriff's Office would not identify Karen, other than to say she was born in 1967, because her family, believed to be in Michigan, had not yet been notified. Detectives have also not revealed how Karen was killed.

Jeanenne van de Steeg, who lives about 50 feet from the RV where Karen's body was found, knew something had gone wrong in the mobile home park Saturday night. She said Karen entered the RV about 9 p.m. Saturday, yelling to a friend that she feared her boyfriend was about to commit suicide inside.

"Karen told her friend to go on ahead to the Boardwalk," van de Steeg said. "Karen said she'd be there in 30 minutes."

Van de Steeg said she heard voices about 4 a.m. and again at 7 a.m. Sunday. Another neighbor, Terry Hannon, said she heard an argument earlier in the night. At 8 a.m., van de Steeg told her landlord he should check out the RV.

The mobile home park owner found the body and alerted his son, Richard Feinberg, a paramedic. Feinberg said his brief moments with the body didn't give him any indication of what might have caused her death. He did not notice any bloodstains in the RV.

"I just felt her and felt that she was cold," Feinberg said. "I didn't want to mess up anything for the investigation."

No one was supposed to be living in the RV. Manes, who owns it, had arranged to store it in the mobile home park for about a month, but Feinberg said he didn't know until Sunday that anyone had been using it, even if irregularly.

The Sheriff's Office forensics investigators arrived shortly after 8 a.m., taped off the crime scene and began interviewing neighbors.

At the Boardwalk Sunday afternoon, Karen was mourned by her friends and by those who knew her just as a woman who had tended bar a few times at their favorite hangout. They wondered whether anyone could have done anything to help her.

One friend, Nelda Wilson, said the fighting between Karen and Manes had escalated recently. Wilson, who lives near the Boardwalk, recently watched the two fight behind the tavern, and she said she watched them to make sure their fight did not become physically violent.

"Everyone's so sad," she said. "What a horrible day."

Anyone with information on Jeffrey K. Manes is asked to contact the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Manes has shoulder-length brown hair and is 5 feet 11.