SATSUMA, Fla. – The grandson of a woman found dead in the woods behind her Satsuma home has been charged with murder, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said the body of 79-year-old Annie Flowers was found late Monday night by deputies to checking on her welfare. The visit came after a family member called the Sheriff's Office to say she had not been able to reach Flowers for about two weeks.
Austin Steybe, 20, who was in the home, told deputies he did not know where Flowers was and had also not seen her for weeks. But evidence in the home prompted deputies to investigate more and after about 45 minutes, they found a woman's body in the woods about 20 yards from the home.
“I did not see the body, but I can tell you that we believe the body has been there for some period of time," Capt. Joseph Wells said. "Possibly the entire two weeks that no one has heard from her.”
Wells said evidence at the scene indicated the woman was killed.
"I don’t want to go into specifics on the evidence in the house, but there was evidence of what appeared to be a struggle," Wells said.
Deputies are awaiting DNA to confirm that the body was that of Flowers.
Late Tuesday, Steybe, who was arrested for simple battery on his girlfriend's brother in 2015, was charged with first-degree murder. He is being held without bond.
Flowers' 1997 blue Honda Odyssey LX van has not been found. It has a dent on the rear driver's side and handicap plate YJ84C.
Wells said the community is taking the news hard.
"We haven’t had a homicide or serious crime in this area in recent recollection," Wells said. "Anytime you have a family-related homicide, especially if the victim that we’ve located does turn out to be the suspect’s grandmother, a harmless 79-year-old lady to become the victim of this crime, it is shocking."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was assisting the Sheriff's Office with the investigation.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the case or the missing van to call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 386-329-0801.