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Fred Laster reported missing 8 months after body was found

Fred Laster's remains dumped by Lake City gas station in June 1994

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When 16-year-old Fred Laster's older sister reported him missing in February 1995, he had already been dead for eight months.

A woman walking her dog on June 5, 1994, found dismembered remains of a young man at a gas station near Lake City, but the victim was listed as a John Doe by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office until last year. New information led to a DNA test that identified the remains as those of Fred Laster.

Further investigation led to the arrest last week of Ronnie Hyde, a 60-year-old Jacksonville Beach man who used to be the youth pastor of the Oceanway church that the Laster family attended in the 1990s.

When Laster's married sister, Dawn Williams, filed a missing person report with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Feb. 17, 1995, she said Laster was last seen at her home on Eubanks Street, off North Main Street. The report said Laster was living with his grandmother in Yulee when he disappeared.

The report said Laster’s family was concerned when he disappeared, but were not sure if he was in danger or not.

"Ms. Williams stated her brother sang and played guitar in a band at Jax Beach. ... He mentioned that maybe they were going to go on tour," the report said.

The tragedy still grips people near the Jacksonville Beach home where Hyde lived and that the FBI spent much of last week searching the house and yard looking for evidence.

"We just thought it was bizarre because it's such a quiet little neighborhood and you never expect anything like that to happen around here," neighborhood Chris Despain said.

Despain, a father of two, hopes this home, which is now boarded up and local police consider a possible health hazard, will be torn down.

"Knock it down," Despain said. "I'm sure that’s already going to happen."

Laster's immediate family has asked for privacy, issued a statement last week that said they "have gathered together at this time to support each other as we experience the intense emotions caused by the heartbreaking loss of 'Freddy' and the arrest of his killer."

Hyde remains in the Duval County jail on murder charges.

The FBI released a flyer and put up billboards hoping to learn if there more child exploitation victims of Hyde in Jacksonville or elsewhere.


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