April 18, 2012

Fisherman reports body – detective finds hoax

Monroe County – Sheriff’s Detective Manny Cuervo responded Monday to a location offshore of Key West after a sponge fisherman reported seeing what looked like human remains on a sunken boat. The man called the Sheriff’s Office at 1 a.m. Monday after returning to shore. He said it looked like a human torso sitting on a captain’s chair about three feet underwater.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gave Detective Cuervo a ride to the area where the fisherman reported seeing the remains, about 200 yards offshore of Archer Key, which is several miles west of Key West. An FWC officer went into the water to retrieve the captain’s chair with the remains attached. When they brought it into the boat, they found it was fake. Someone had attached part of a plastic skeleton to the chair and put it underwater; a sunken boat which has been in the area for some time was nearby.

“It looks pretty real,” said Detective Cuervo, “but if it was real, the skeleton would have fallen apart long before it had time to accumulate all the algae that was on it,” he said. “We removed it from the water so we don’t get any more calls about it in the future.”

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