Investigators searching, excavating through St. Pete pond in connection to cold case

Police: 'Substantial tip' on cold case led us here

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wednesday was day two of excavating and officers are searching through a drained pond in a Tampa Bay area neighborhood.

St. Petersburg Police say their investigation is connected to a cold case.

Excavators, metal detectors, investigators and K-9s are just some of the manpower working to find something in a drained pond at 71st Street North and 52nd Avenue North. But what exactly they are looking for is anyone’s guess.

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Police say a "substantial tip" on a cold case led them to the area.

“It’s very serious," said neighbor Sid Smith. "They are not going to put that kind of resources into something that’s just mediocre.”

While police are keeping quiet on the details and would not identify the cold case, there’s been talk around the neighborhood that this could be connected to a 2012 murder case.

In 2016, St. Pete police charged Jacobee Flowers with first-degree murder in 17-year-old Morgan Martin's disappearance. Martin's body was never found. Flowers' home is just a couple of feet away from the pond police are searching today. 

“It’s a sad, sad thing to begin with. The young lady was beautiful," said neighbor Crystal Smith.

We called Martin's mother, Leah Martin, today who says she has been in contact with police. She says she found out about the search through a friend who saw it all over social media.

"Yesterday was rough and it upset me," said Martin over the phone.

Martin says police advised her not to come to the scene. She was told as soon as they find what they're looking for, investigators would be at her front door immediately.

"I wish we all knew together. It will be closure and would be nice to have my family to do a burial and end that part of it," said Martin.

A big air-conditioned tent on the site makes neighbors wonder if it's a sign that investigators will work there for some time. Flower’s next court date is October 19.

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