Identification delay: Deputies await dental records to identify World Golf Village victim

Dental records needed to identify body

Putnam County deputies said they'll have to rely on dental records to identify the person shot and killed in World Golf Village on Thursday.

The Sheriff's Office had planned a news conference for Friday afternoon but canceled 45 minutes before it started because the medical examiner was not able to identify the body.

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Deputies said the victim is a man who has also identified as a woman. They said the victim had just started investigating the high-profile Michelle O'Connell case.

The Sheriff’s Office could not provide a timeline on identifying the victim.

Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson, a former FBI investigator, said it will likely be at least a day before deputies have the identification.

Carson also said it could be a tactic for investigators to have more time to run down leads and speak with witnesses.

The last-minute cancellation of the news conference added another wrinkle of mystery to the case that World Golf Village neighbors, like Andrew Applegate, said is strange.

“It’s definitely a bizarre event to hear of, and it’s really shocking to me,” Applegate said.

Applegate lives near the victim but didn’t know the victim personally.  He said this kind of incident doesn't happen there.

“I’m shocked, I’m shocked,” he said.  “Hearing something like that happening in a development like this, I mean, it’s unheard of.”

On Friday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent Action News Jax a statement explaining its absence from the case.  They joined the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, which also bowed out.

Both agencies investigated O'Connell's 2010 death, which was ruled a suicide, despite her family suspecting St. Johns County Deputy Jeremy Banks.

The FDLE said they're not involved to ensure there's no "unnecessary distraction and impartiality."

They added their "lab system will provide forensic assistance."

With the O'Connell case still possibly connected, a family member told Action News Jax on Friday, "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.”

Deputies said they have no suspect information at this time.