September 4, 2012

Detectives investigate death; try to identify victim

Key West – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating how a man wound up dead in the water near Ballast Key, and need help from the public trying to identify him.

A private boater saw something floating in the water at about 6 p.m. Monday. When he got closer he discovered it was the body of a man, floating about 100 yards offshore of Ballast Key in about 5 – 6 feet of water. He called the United States Coast Guard for assistance.

The Coast Guard responded and recovered the body from the water, bringing it back to the Coast Guard base in Key West.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo was assigned to investigate the case. He says the man had no clothing on, and no identification. So far, Detective Cuervo has found no missing persons reports that fit the man’s description.

The dead man is a white male, between 20 and 30 years of age. He is about 5’10” tall and slim, weighing perhaps 160-165 pounds. He has brown hair cut very short – in a crew cut type style. He had several days to a week’s worth of beard growth on his face, and had been in the water a short time – two days at the most, according to the detective.

The man had what Detective Cuervo describes as a “tribal” type tattoo on his upper left arm.

Detective Cuervo said while he can’t rule anything out at this point, the man does not have the appearance of a Cuban migrant.

An autopsy will be done soon to try and determine the cause of the man’s death.

Anyone who has any information which might help identify this man should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted on line at

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