The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the remains found in a car pulled from a Palm Harbor pond last week as those of a man who went missing in 2006.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Friday the medical examiner’s office has confirmed that the bones found April 14 in a gray Mitsubishi on the 200 block of Old Oak Circle were those of 34-year-old Robert Helphrey.
After working a closing shift at the Thirsty Marlin in Palm Harbor in May 2006, Helphrey went across the street to Peggy O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Eatery with some co-workers, according to newspaper reports from around the time he went missing. On the drive home, Helphrey invited a friend to meet him at his apartment in Palm Harbor. But he never made it home.
Law enforcement searched several ponds and wooded areas for Helphrey and his car at the time but never found them.
The Sunshine State Sonar Search team — a volunteer group that works with law enforcement to locate missing people, vehicles and vessels — found Helphrey’s car in the pond and alerted the sheriff’s office, who pulled the vehicle from the retention pond last week.
Helphrey’s cause of death still is under investigation, authorities said.