UPDATE 7/8/13: The body has been identified as that of 34-year-old Keisha E. Murray, according to JSO Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda. Her death is being investigated as a murder.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A woman is found dead at a Northside cemetery and not in a grave. Police suspect foul play and her identity is still a mystery.
Around 4 p.m. Sunday, a passer-by called police after discovering a body in plain view lying under a tree at Restlawn Memorial Park cemetery off Ribault Scenic Drive. Police say the victim is a black female in her late 20s to mid 30s and was wearing a yellow dress. Those are the only details they have to share with the public.
"When we get called to these type things, identity is something that takes a while because the body is in custody of the medical examiner. We don't disturb the body, we work around it," said Sergeant T.K. Waters, Homicide Unit, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Police suspect foul play and that it's possible the woman was dropped off at the cemetery.
21-year-old Cebron Webb grew up and still lives in a neighborhood near the cemetery. He says he used to play in the park across the cemetery as a child and still walks his dog out there every day. He says it's a quiet area and he never expected this.
"That just shows you the disrespect people have for life and death, that people have nowadays, they dumping bodies. That just show you the evil that's going on right now," said Webb.
But Osborne Hall says he isn't shocked. He says he's lived around the corner since 1969 and has relatives buried at the cemetery. Hall says the gates are always open, allowing anyone to go in after hours.
"You know you can't do nothing about that, people drive up, if they keep it closed nobody would drive up in there, but people come out this way all the time," said Hall.
Restlawn Cemetery was taken over by Southside Christian Charities in 2007. Pastor Harold Rollinson is the Chair of the organization and says he first learned of the incident when First Coast News reached out to him for an interview.
"Immediately your heart is saddened when you hear that somebody has lost their life," said Pastor Rollinson.
Pastor Rollinson says the cemetery only has a front entrance and he added gates three years ago and would lock them after 6 p.m. After so many complaints he received from people not being able to visit their loved ones graves, the organization decided to leave the gates open at all times. A decision he says will likely change.
"This gives us cause and more reason to close the gates again," said Rollinson.
Anyone with information on the homicide is asked to call First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous and may receive a possible reward of up to $3,000.
First Coast News