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Relative of Carrollwood woman found dead in her home now charged with murder

'Relative' charged with abuse of a dead human body
Posted at 8:04 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 11:58:09-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office found a woman's body on the property of her Tampa home on Monday morning, a day after her friends reported her missing.

In a press release, HCSO said 67-year-old Debra Pais Patton was arrested and charged with abuse of a dead human body, a second-degree felony, in relation to the death investigation. HCSO later added on a charge of Second Degree Murder with a Firearm.

Patton, according to HCSO, was the "relative" of the woman whose body was found. The two were living "at a home on the 11000 block of Cypress Park Street in the Carrollwood area when her relative went missing."

Though deputies haven't said exactly what happened, they said they found the victim's body Monday morning after searching the home. At this time, the Medical Examiner's Office is working to determine the cause of death.

ABC Action News spoke with friends and neighbors who knew the victim. They started getting concerned when she was missing appointments and not responding to texts and calls. Friends who reported her missing said they hadn't seen her since Monday, May 24.

Friends of the victim also told ABC Action News that the victim lived with her sister, but HCSO has not clarified the relationship between her and Patton.

HCSO said the investigation is active and ongoing.

ABC Action News also spoke with the victim’s neighbor who says she grew up in the neighborhood with the victim and is shocked by the news.

“Just a super, super close family friend. She’s like family. I’ve known her my whole life,” said Cathy Wynkoop.

"We are asking neighbors in the area to check their home surveillance cameras for anything suspicious and to reach out to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to help us in this investigation," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "No tip is too small. Any information could be of value in this case."

If you have information, you are asked to call the sheriff’s office at (813) 247-8200.

Patton was granted a $250k bond on Wednesday, and will be required to wear an ankle monitor if she bonds out.