A body found Sunday along A1A was identified as a 24-year-old Middleburg woman, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
Investigators said they’re now working to find information about the whereabouts of the woman, identified Brianna Jane Gibson, and her vehicle, a white Hummer H3, between 10 p.m. Saturday and early Sunday morning.
Early Sunday morning is when the Sheriff’s Office, along with the Florida Highway Patrol, responded to what was believed to be a deadly hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian along A1A, just south of J. Turner Butler Boulevard.
A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told News4Jax that a passerby reported the discovery of the body around 4:40 a.m.
“The first thing I did was say a prayer for the family,” said Robert Owen, who told News4Jax that he drove by the scene. “Somebody in the prime of their life like that, it’s just a shame, and I really hope that they get everything figured out about it and let the family get some peace.”
The decision was made to turn the case over to the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit to investigate it as an undetermined death.
Once the body was identified, according to the Sheriff’s Office, detectives learned that Gibson and her boyfriend had left Gibson’s family home earlier Saturday evening and she, her SUV and her boyfriend had not been seen since.
Investigators said they began an aerial search and eventually found Gibson’s vehicle abandoned in a gated apartment complex in Middleburg, which was some distance away from her boyfriend’s home. Investigators said the vehicle was seized by the Sheriff’s Office while detectives began searching for Gibson’s boyfriend.
Shortly after, according to the Sheriff’s Office, family members of the boyfriend contacted Clay County deputies, saying he wished to turn himself in on an unrelated, outstanding warrant.
Investigators said they have since met with the boyfriend, who has been cooperating and provided an account of the night’s events. News4Jax was told investigators are checking his story against the physical evidence.
The medical examiner said Gibson died from traumatic head and neck injuries and the injuries are consistent with having been hit by a vehicle or having fallen from a vehicle. The medical examiner has not determined a manner of death.
News4Jax has been in contact with Gibson’s family members, who are asking for privacy after their unexpected loss.
News4Jax also reached out to her boyfriend’s family and was told the family did not wish to comment.
Detectives announced Monday afternoon that they need the public to come forward with any information about the whereabouts of Gibson and her vehicle, which they said is known to have been in Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call the Major Crimes Unit at 904-824-8304.