Neighbors react after police link missing woman Kelly Moriarty to severed leg found in Tampa Bay

8:21 AM, Mar 28, 2012   |    comments
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BRADENTON, Florida - Snowflakes and Frosty the Snowman decorate the front window of Unit 615.

It's where 38-year-old Kelly Moriarty and her 62-year-old girlfriend Doris Carter once shared a condominium inside the upscale community called The Palms on 51st Street West in Bradenton. Neighbors say in late 2011, it appeared Carter moved out. Then shortly before Christmas, Moriarty disappeared as well.

But then a month later, property managers contacted Moriarty's family to alert them she'd fallen behind on her payments. Her brother entered the unit in January, where he found an undisturbed home, complete with Christmas decorations and presents still wrapped under the tree.

Kelly was reported missing to the Bradenton Police Department, who soon realized Moriarty's car had been found abandoned off the side of rural State Road 62 in Parrish. When officers went to speak with Moriarty's girlfriend in Plant City, they discovered she was missing too.

On Tuesday, detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced a startling new piece of evidence. DNA linked Kelly to highly publicized severed leg discovered just after Christmas floating behind a south St. Petersburg home in Tampa Bay.

Neighbors who lived in Moriarty's same building were shocked to hear the news. They say family members arrived to the unit late last week to begin packing up some of Kelly's belongings.

"She was very private, but very nice," said one of Kelly's downstairs neighbors who asked not to be identified. "She was between jobs, but may have been going back to school to become a massage therapist."

Moriarty had previously worked as a bank security guard, according to an online resume. She had a concealed weapons permit, but was forced to give up her gun according to court records following a date violence incident reported to police.

Investigators are now searching for clues, trying to figure out what happened to both women. They're hoping to find Carter alive to ask her questions, but are working Kelly's disappearance as a homicide.

Complicating the situation, investigators have not found a crime scene or located the rest of Kelly's body.

Anyone with information on what may have happened to either woman is urged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.

Beau Zimmer, 10 News

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