Updated: Nov 29, 2020
The following has been transcribed from an original 1975 Lakeland Ledger digital newspaper archive. This article has been re-typed and organized from existing digital Lakeland Ledger archives; I've simply transcribed them for informational and readability purposes. I do not claim any ownership/authorship of these particular articles.
above: The original Lakeland Ledger newspaper reporting on an unidentifiable body found in the trunk of a car on Lake Luther Road. Deputies pictured: Sid Boydston, left,
and Robert Wood.
The Lakeland Ledger:
Tuesday, July 29, 1975
Car Burns; Body Found.
By Lee Harring | Ledger Staff Writer
The charred remains of a body were found in the trunk of a burned late model Ford early this morning off Lake Luther Road north of Lakeland.
Sheriff's deputies at the scene were not able to determine the sex or race of the victim. The medical examiner requested an autopsy to determine if foul play was involved.
A spokesman for the sheriff's department said foul play was almost certainly involved but there is the possibility the victim could have set the car on fire and committed suicide.
The burning car was first discovered about 4:45 a.m. by Clifford Tony, a newspaper carrier for the Tampa Tribune. The car had a Duval County license tag and efforts are being made to determine the owner. Duval County is in north Florida.
A deputy on scene said the car did not appear to have been burning a long time when it was discovered and the fire probably started between 1 and 5 a.m.
The color of the car is possibly gold or green but deputies said any conclusions at this time are questionable. The fire apparently started from a highly combustible material, possibly gasoline, police said.
Deputies said residents in the area had not seen or heard anything although the car was within 500 feet of a house. The newspaper carrier did not see the body in the trunk. It was discovered by the sheriff's deputy.
"I knew it was a body. When I first pulled up all I saw was a burning vehicle, I started to check the trunk area and I saw the remains of a human being," a deputy said. The car was too hot to determine if the engine was still operable. Deputies said it was possible the car was driven or towed to the site.
"We're trying to trace the vehicle to determine where it was supposed to be and to find out as much about it as we can. We don't have enough right now to say what it is. If it isn't a suicide, we've got someone who has created a murder. It sounds funny, but we don't have anything right now. All we have is a car and a body," the deputy said.
Fire District One responded to the blaze. Lake Luther Road is about half a mile south of Interstate 4.
There are no known witnesses.