A map of Florida highlighting St. Petersburg.
Florida. (Inset: St. Petersburg). (CC BY-SA/Bastique/Wikipedia)

Florida, aka “The Sunshine State,” is a popular tourist destination where families go to create lasting memories on pristine beaches. However, a visiting Canadian family had a strange experience, reports the Tampa Bay Times. According to reports, a family vacationing in St. Petersburg found a human leg on a beach near Fourth Street South.

Fright in Florida

Police reports note that the leg was clean-shaved, pale and bent at the knee, cut cleanly from the body at the thigh, and the foot was severed. It was found on a small sliver of beach behind a waterfront neighborhood. Canadian tourists who had rented a beachfront home next to bay Vista Recreation Center discovered the dismembered limb at approximately 7:40 a.m. while on a coffee run Tuesday morning. The last time the family had been outside was 6 p.m. the night before. According to police, the family hadn’t seen anything unusual at that time.

“We don’t know the cause and manner of death,” said St. Petersburg police Maj. Mike Kovacsev. “But obviously, someone went to great lengths to dismember this body.”

Under close investigation

Kovacsev told local media that the first order of business is to determine to whom the severed leg belongs. Once that is established, police can begin to work on finding answers to such questions as how the leg ended up in its peculiar location, who put it there and where the rest of the body may be located.

“The most important thing is identifying the person,” Kovacsev said. “You can’t even surmise what happened to them until we identify the victim and look into their life.”

Leg belongs to a woman

St. Petersburg police believe that the severed right leg belongs to a “heavyset” white woman. It has no tattoos, distinct markings or scars, and no obvious signs of trauma save for a number of markings around the upper thigh area. The local Medical Examiner’s Office has not officially determined the gender of the victim yet, although it has pronounced that the limb had been in the water for one to two days, based upon its condition and the seaweed attached.

DNA testing of the limb is currently in progress. In addition, St. Petersburg police are attempting to find potential connections between the appearance of the leg and recent discoveries of other dead bodies found floating in the area.


CBS Tampa: http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2011/12/28/tourists-find-missing-leg-on-st-petersburg-beach/

Tampa Bay Times: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/article1207942.ece

UPI: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/12/28/Severed-leg-washes-ashore-on-Florida-beach/UPI-59021325085629/?spt=hs&or=tn

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