OKEECHOBEE — Detectives with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) continue to gather information as they try to positively identify a man’s body found at the Okeechobee landfill, and how he got there.
Christine Weiss, MCSO public information officer, said Tuesday afternoon that an autopsy conducted Monday afternoon, Dec. 28, did little to help identify the white male.
“We know the manner of death is a gunshot wound, but we have to figure out how that gunshot wound got there,” said Ms. Weiss in a telephone interview.
“We can’t rule anything, but we’re leaning toward a possible suicide.”
The man’s body was found at the landfill around 11:25 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 26, when an employee there was inspecting a load of trash from the Martin County solid waste facility in Palm City. Ms. Weiss said the man is thought to be in his 40s and has a Palm Beach address.
His identification has not been released pending notification of the next of kin.
“He’s got parents in another county and they’re very difficult to reach,” offered Ms. Weiss.
Identifying the man has been made even more difficult because investigators are having to rely on fingerprints and dental records.
“He was compacted and his face had been damaged,” Ms. Weiss explained.
She had pointed out in an earlier interview that a gun had been found in the area of the man’s body, and while detectives feel it was the gun used to take the man’s life the model and make of the firearms is not being released at this time.
According to a report by Deputy Daniel Eng, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), the trash was hauled from Martin County to Okeechobee in a tractor-trailer rig. After the trash had been dumped Mark Ray Broadrick Jr,, a landfill employee, inspected the load. As he was doing that inspection he found the man’s body.
The OCSO report stated Mr. Broadrick is required to inspect the load that is dropped by a semi.
Deputy Eng’s report stated Mr. Broadrick to within 5 to 6 feet of the dead man and verified that it was, indeed, a body. However, continued the report, he did not disturb the immediate crime scene.
OCSO detectives Corporal Ted Van Deman and Marty D. Faulkner were then called to the scene. MCSO investigators were called in when it was determined the trash, and the body, had been trucked here from Martin County.
MCSO detectives Chris Morales and Matt Horton are handling the investigation. Detective Morales is the lead investigator.
Those detectives, said Ms. Weiss, are waiting on route records from the landfill and they are still looking for the man’s vehicle.
“There’s still a lot of pieces to this. It’s one of those cases where there are a lot of moving pieces,” she pointed out.
Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News