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Skeleton found in brush near highway

A human skeleton was found in a wooded area just west of U.S. 19 and south of the Pinellas-Pasco county line Wednesday afternoon by land surveyors cutting through the brush.

The skeleton appeared to be that of an adult and was on its left side in a clearing, said Phil Langston, 37, crew chief for the Lloveras, Baur and Stevens survey company of Clearwater.

"It was just laying there in the leaves," he said. "It gave me goose bumps."

The skeleton was found about 300 feet west of U.S. 19, between the Brittany Park neighborhood and the Tarpon Springs Driving Range, Langston said. He first noticed a pair of sneakers, but shoes are a common sight for surveyors, he said. So he pushed on. It wasn't until he walked back toward the road that he saw the skeleton.

Tarpon Springs police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Young said detectives were waiting for the Pinellas Medical Examiner's office to determine the cause of death as well as age, sex and race.

Detectives from the state attorney's office and the Pinellas County Forensics Unit also were investigating the scene Wednesday, Young said.

The survey crew was preparing the site for construction. Anthony Nicholas Jr., 47, of Tarpon Springs, a co-owner of the property, said 58 townhomes will be built there.

Joel Tucker, who works at the neighboring driving range, said he was surprised to learn about the crew's discovery.

"It's kind of weird," he said. "I bet there's a lot of golf balls over there too."

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichetsptimes.com or (727) 771-4307.

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