Crime Stoppers: Carnival worker found floating in Tampa Bay

8:36 PM, Jul 19, 2010   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Steven Clancy loved the bright lights of the midway.

The life of a carnival worker seemed to him, detectives say, untethered and free.

Originally from the East Coast, Clancy settled in Hillsborough County and adapted. He made his living at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

Life appeared to be good.

Then, on February 21, 1981, Clancy was found floating in Tampa Bay.

His body was weighted down, and several fishermen discovered him on Gandy Beach.

Detective Mike Bailey from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has been investigating this cold case.

He admits, "This is an extremely challenging case based on the fact, intitially, that we did not know who he was and he was not identified positively until 2003."

Clancy remained a John Doe for nearly 22 years. No one could figure out who he was.

That is, until something in his mouth led detectives to the "right answer."

Bailey said, "A lot of those leads that could have been pursued in 1981 have since dried up. Memories fade, that type of thing, about who that person was."

Clancy had gotten a dental plate while serving in the military.

At first, detectives were hoping to match the social security number inscribed on the inside of it.

But, Clancy's social didn't match anyone.

After years of investigation, detectives finally discovered that the military made a mistake.

They were off by one number.

"The social security number was obviously off by one digit, which was enough to throw us off but, ultimately, was enough to rule him as the person the plate belonged to."

That was in 2003.

Still, years later, no one knows who killed Clancy or why.

"We are hoping that someone will remember that Steven Clancy was a carnival worker. Maybe we can retrace his last steps from February 1981."

Detective Bailey realizes that the "carney" world, as it's called, is very nomadic and unpredictable.

But, he is hoping somone may remember Clancy.

"Hillsborough County has a large population of carnival workers," says Bailey. "And, they may be able to possibly remember this person, in addition to whether or not there was any conflicts with anybody, or anyone he would have been living with at the time. They could shed some light on what happened to him."

In fact, investigators are hoping that they can find an old roommate of Clancy's, Doug Cocoran.

"He did have a roommate who resided with him that we'd like to speak with. [It has been] difficult to pin him down, [his] whereabouts before the murder," Bailey said, talking about Cocoran.

"Maybe he can shed some light," Bailey admits.

So, what most likely happened to Clancy?

"It looks like, more than likely, he got into an argument with somebody, was shot, and placed in the water to conceal disappearance and/or murder," Bailey says.

Detectives have to work backwards to create the steps leading up to Clancy's demise.

"Some of the things you try to do is retrace his steps just prior to the murder, retrace steps to where he was at. All we know is that he was at business called 78th Street Bottle Club. This would have been February 1981," says Bailey.

Clancy's mother resides in North Port.

If you know who killed Steven Clancy, or know what happened to him, or where he was before he disappeared, there is up to a $1,000 reward.

Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

Melanie Brooks, 10 Connects

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