JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A rental property owner was cleaning up a home for rent in the Allendale area on Wednesday when he found a body in the backyard, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
Sgt. Steve Rudlaff, with the Sheriff’s Office, said JSO received a 911 call at about 2 p.m. from a man who found a body in his backyard on West Ninth Street near St. Clair Street.
When police arrived, Rudlaff said, the man, who owns several rental properties in the area, said he was at the home, cleaning it up to be rented, and while he was clearing the backyard, he uncovered human remains. Rudlaff said the body was located toward a fence, several feet away from the house.
“It’s been there for a while, so a lot of it had just been natural foliage fallen, but yeah, the body was partially covered,” Rudlaff said at a news briefing.
Rudlaff said that the body has not been identified and that it’s currently unknown whether the body is that of a male or a female. The cause of death was not immediately known, and the body was taken to the medical examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed.
“Once the autopsy is performed, we should have a better understanding and hopefully be able to work on identifying the individual as well as the cause of death,” Rudlaff said.
Rudlaff said the owner of the vacant home has been cooperative and working with police as the Sheriff’s Office investigates.
“We are reaching out to past renters and talking to the neighbors, trying to get information,” Rudlaff said. “We do know that the house has been vacant for a very short time.”
A resident who lives across the street, who asked not to be identified, told News4JAX her neighbor recently moved out.
“Well, I noticed my neighbors moved out two or three weeks ago and that’s the most I’ve seen. Like, I didn’t even see them move out. All I know is we came home the next day and everything was outside,” the neighbor said.
On Wednesday night, officers were seen back out at the house conducting a search. Two neighbors said that approximately three weeks ago they spotted officers searching the front and back yards at night.
As the investigation continues, he said, detectives will be going through any calls to the area that could be related to a missing person or any other type of incident.