A woman's leg washed ashore on the St. Petersburg side of Tampa Bay Tuesday morning, leaving detectives with few answers.

8:15 AM, Dec 28, 2011   |    comments
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St. Pete Police suspect murder after a woman's leg washes in from Tampa Bay missing a foot.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Every cast of a fisherman's net, and even the tiniest wave, could bring another body part ashore in south St. Pete.

"It is unnerving. It does make me uncomfortable," says Charlene, who awoke to police outside, asking questions about a woman's leg that washed ashore Tuesday morning.

Tourists staying two doors down from Charlene on 4th Street South discovered the body part near their dock. Investigators say the leg was cleanly shaven, with no tattoos, and missing a foot.

"It's disturbing. It's disturbing...very freaky," says Suzanne Icely while playing with her kids at nearby Bay Vista Park. Suzanne can't help but wonder if the rest of the body will turn up, because detectives say the leg had only been in the water a few hours - a day or two at most.

"Sometimes you'll have situations where maybe somebody has found a crime scene but no body. Suddenly, we have now at least a body part in this case, so there are a number of different things," explains Mike Puetz with St. Pete Police. Detectives can't be certain the woman was murdered, but they say that's the most likely possibility.

Neighbors like Charlene also realize the difficulty in tracking down where the leg came from. "It's wide open waterfront. It reaches all the way across to Manatee County. Cruise ships go by here all the time as well, so...I don't know."

For now, police don't know much either. Investigators await more information from the Medical Examiner's Office like the age and race of the woman. Detectives are also cross-checking missing persons cases and alerting other authorities across the region.

"If you're thinking of all the possibilities, it certainly becomes very daunting," adds Puetz.

St. Pete Police want anyone who may have information about the woman's leg to call (727) 892-5000.


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