JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is evidence of foul play in the death of a young woman whose body was found Tuesday morning in a body of water in the upscale San Marco neighborhood, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Hopely, with the JSO Homicide Unit, said a person was walking their dog along Sorrento Road near San Marco Square around 7 a.m. when the dog walker saw a body floating in Marco Lake.
The dog walker called 911, and police and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel responded to the inlet of the St. Johns River. According to police, the body is believed to be that of a young woman in her late teens to early 20s whose identity was not immediately known. They said they are checking missing person databases.
Hopely said there is evidence of foul play at the scene.
“However, we are not prepared to discuss any specifics at this time,” he said at a 10:50 a.m. media briefing.
Investigators were going door to door, speaking with residents. From talking with people in the area, it was clear that the grisly discovery has shaken up the historic district.
“Everybody’s stunned,” said Mary Jaycox, who lives near Marco Lake.
Jaycox said she had no indication anything was wrong overnight or Tuesday morning until her phone started buzzing with texts from concerned neighbors.
“We’ve been exchanging texts left and right,” Jaycox said. “Everybody’s just horrified.”
Jaycox said that she saw the body and that the woman was clothed and looked like she hadn’t been dead long.
“It was terrible. My heart goes out to that family,” Jaycox said. “That’s somebody’s daughter, and it’s heartbreaking for her life to end that way, and it’s horrifying.”
Maxine Blakely lives a few blocks away.
“I mean it’s just really scary,” Blakely said. “I don’t remember anything like this ever happening here.”
A resident who lives on Sorrento Road said her ring doorbell didn’t show anything unusual — just a few cars driving by overnight.
“Well, you wonder who’s next,” Jaycox said. “I mean, you feel like you have to start watching who’s driving around, who’s hanging out by the lake, what’s going on.”
“Nothing like this has happened in my neighborhood,” said Gabby Haddad. “I know everybody says that whenever something bad happens.”
Detectives said the investigation is still in the early stages, and they expected to be in the neighborhood for a while. Aerial footage from the Sky 4 helicopter captured the Sheriff’s Office dive team searching Marco Lake as evidence technicians with metal detectors scoured the area. News4JAX also spotted what appeared to be blood on the cement bank of the pond.
Police said they believe this is an isolated incident.
As detectives continue to investigate the homicide, anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).