A woman and her two children playing near the water at Coquina Key Park on Saturday morning discovered a woman's body, its legs bound.
St. Petersburg police said the clothed body was a middle-aged white woman who died from "upper body trauma," a term that covers a variety of wounds and injuries. Police are still trying to identify her, said police spokesman Rick Stelljes.
Stelljes said the family "went down to splash in the water a little bit and saw the body among the mangroves."
The family called authorities, but when rescue workers arrived and noticed the woman was bound _ police would provide no further details on how she was bound _ they called police.
Investigators are uncertain whether the body washed up on Coquina Key, a small island in the southeast corner of St. Petersburg, or was left there. Stelljes said investigators think the woman died within the past 24 hours.
Police collected evidence near the tip of the park, from a trash can, a tree where something resembling a garment was located and from the marshy area where the body lay.
Police also blocked most traffic from driving down the dirt roadway leading to the part of the park where the body was found, explaining that investigators might be able to find vehicle tracks in the dirt.
Investigators also planned to dive in the waters off Coquina Key Park to look for evidence.