SEBRING — Polk County Sheriff’s Office officials say Kara Fay Hanvey, 22, of Sebring, was found dead in a possible fatal hit and run Sunday in Lakeland. Authorities are conducting a suspicious death investigation and are seeking the public’s help to determine what happened.
Just after 6:30 a.m. Sunday a man called 911 because he saw a person laying in the median near U.S. 92 and Reynolds Road, according to PCSO Public Information Officer Carrie Horstman. The unidentified male caller told the dispatcher he didn’t know what happened to the victim or whether or not she had been hit by a vehicle. The caller described to the dispatcher Hanvey was on her back and she had bruising on her face.
The caller said he pulled off the road and onto the median to ascertain whether she was breathing or not. He was able to tell the dispatcher, “no, she’s gone,” according to the call recording.
“When first responders arrived on-scene it was apparent the victim was deceased,” Horstman said in a press release. “There were no witnesses located.”
The sheriff’s traffic and homicide units were on the scene to investigate.
It is hoped an autopsy will be done on Monday and it will unveil the specific cause of death. The preliminary findings from Polk County Sheriff’s Office were “minor trauma to the victim’s body and an apparent broken leg.”
Hanvey’s personal effects were on the westbound shoulder of U.S. 92 close to her.
According to Hanvey’s social media page, she previously attended Sebring High School and studied at South Florida State College. Her social media page indicates she worked at Bob Evans starting in January but never changed the job information on her page after she left the company.
According to Zach Smith, restaurant manager at the Sebring location, Hanvey worked for Bob Evans for about three months and he thought she might have moved on to Cody’s Original Roadhouse.
“She was a hard worker,” Smith said. “She was a great person. We had no issues when she was here. At Bob Evans we are like family. We worked a lot of shifts together. She put her two kids first. She always said she was working for her kids.”
Smith said Hanvey was not married and they didn’t share too much personal information at work.
Polk sheriff officials are looking for witnesses who were in the area at about 5:30-6:30 a.m. Sunday. If anyone knows where Hanvey was or with whom on Saturday night or Sunday morning, call 863-298-6200.
Witnesses can remain anonymous and possibly earn a reward from Heartland Crimes Stoppers by calling 1-800-226 TIPS (8477) or visit heartlandcrimestoppers.com.