Home News Skull discovered Wednesday during police pursuit near Grand Harbor community

Skull discovered Wednesday during police pursuit near Grand Harbor community

Skull discovered Wednesday during police pursuit near Grand Harbor community

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A law enforcement foot pursuit for three men through a wooded area Wednesday turned into the discovery of a skull, according to Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and Vero Beach Police officials.

The skull was found in an area east of U.S. 1 between the 5300 and 5700 blocks in the area of the Grand Harbor community as a helicopter and law enforcement canines worked to find three men from an incident that began miles away on Azalea Lane not far from Humiston Beach Park.

“It’s just a mere coincidence that these bad guys literally led our units to that area running through foot pursuit and then the dog (alerted) on the skull during the track,” said Lt. Joseph Abollo, sheriff’s office spokesperson.

Abollo said agency crime scene officials would continue processing the area to see whether they can recover the remaining portions of the body.

He said the skull could have been there for at least weeks or longer. Investigators do not know whether the case is a homicide.

“It’s going to be all forensics, it’s going to end up going to the medical examiner, to see if we can make an identification,” Abollo said of the skull.

No homeless camps are in the area.

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The remains were found following a Vero Beach Police case involving a pursuit, said Master Police Officer Darrell Rivers, Vero Beach Police spokesperson.

He said it started about 4 p.m. Wednesday, when police got a call from an Uber driver about a “suspicious vehicle” with people in it in the 500 block of Azalea Lane.

“The Uber driver approached the vehicle, and when he approached … he noticed there was the backseat passenger and there was a gun in the backseat with him,” Rivers said, adding the man in the backseat brandished the gun. “The vehicle fled from the area once he saw the Uber driver calling 911.”

Rivers said an officer saw the vehicle, a 2020 Honda Civic, travel west over the Merrill P. Barber Bridge, and a second officer got involved and the vehicle stopped.

“The occupants put their hands out the windows and as officers approached the vehicle, they just took off and fled away,” Rivers said.

Police pursued the Honda to Indian River Boulevard and 53rd Street near the Grand Harbor community. The Honda crashed.

“At that point, all the subjects exited the vehicle, fled, jumped the wall near Grand Harbor and ran into the woods,” Rivers said. 

A helicopter came to the scene, as did K-9 units from the sheriff’s office and police in Sebastian and Vero Beach, Rivers said. The three K-9 units train on Wednesdays.

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“All those canines and the helicopter arrived on scene within minutes of them jumping out of the vehicle,” Rivers said. 

He said the helicopter used a special heat-detecting system, and found two people quickly. They were taken into custody, and about 30 or 40 minutes later, a third person was found.

Rivers said near the two, there was a bag with checks, mail that didn’t belong to the men and about $2,000 in cash. A .40-caliber magazine was found, but a gun was not.

The suspected human remains were discovered during the incident

Meanwhile, the owner of the Honda was in the process of reporting it stolen to Coral Springs Police, Rivers said. The owner declined to prosecute after determining the vehicle was found and the individuals were arrested.

All three men were jailed on a single resisting without violence charge, while the alleged driver of the Honda was arrested on additional charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding with property damage and driving while license suspended as a habitual traffic offender.


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