ROTONDA WEST — An unknown man tipped off an off-duty police officer Wednesday night that he’d seen a dead body in a homeless camp off Rotonda Boulevard West.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office found the body Thursday morning.
The unidentified person flagged down the off-duty Punta Gorda Police Department officer who in turn notified the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, said CCSO spokeswoman Katie Heck. A second unidentified person — who may have been the same person who talked to the off-duty officer — called the Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning.
“We would love that person to contact us, just so we would have a better time frame of when he may have seen this,” Heck said. “He may not realize we need to speak to him.”
Because they had only a general description of the area, deputies first searched a different location in Rotonda before discovering the body in a homeless camp near a Florida Power & Light power line right of way, just off Rotonda Boulevard West. Investigators saw no signs that anyone else was using the area to camp.
The body also showed no obvious signs of violence causing the victim’s death. There’s no threat to the community, Heck said.
“There are no immediate signs of a physical disturbance, but due to the delayed discovery of the body we are still processing the scene,” she said Thursday.
“We have a tentative identification,” Heck said. “Visually the detectives estimated (his age) in his 20s-30s, but there are environmental factors to consider with that. We should be able to officially confirm identity through the medical examiner soon, but will still need to reach next of kin before releasing anything.”
She said investigators would use fingerprints to help confirm the identity.
CCSO still hadn’t reached the next off kin shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday.