ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Skeletal remains found earlier this year near McCullough Creek in St. Johns County have been tentatively identified as a missing World War II veteran.
Investigators believe the remains are those of Leigh Hobart Abel, Junior, who disappeared on December 20, 2001 from Volusia County.
Foul play is suspected and police believe the 78-year-old was murdered.
Abel’s vehicle was located a year later in Boca Raton.
Authorities found a key along with the remains, and were able to start that vehicle with that key.
Also, the clothing described in the Volusia case fits the clothing located with the remains.
Based on the clothing match and the vehicle key match, the victim was presumptively identified, but investigators are waiting on DNA testing for a positive confirmation.
Abel was a World War II veteran and he and his wife had moved to Florida to retire.
His wife passed away last year.
Detectives are now looking for two people who may have information about this investigation.
Witnesses described seeing a white man in his 20’s near Abel right before he vanished.
Police have released a composite sketch of that man.
Another possible lead in this case comes from a Crime Stoppers tip from 2003, that was apparently in response to flyers that were distributed in the area where Abel’s vehicle was located.
That tip stated that a man who goes by the nickname “Ziggy” has information about the case.
“Ziggy” was described as a white male, 5’10” with a medium build and short brown hair and brown eyes.
The tipster or “Ziggy” have never been identified.
Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at 904-209-3985.
You can also remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).