A Florida woman has been arrested in connection with the death of a man whose body was uncovered earlier this year in the Florida Highlands section of southwest Marion County.
Starr Hunter was taken into custody in Homosassa and booked into the Marion County Jail on a charge of first-degree felony murder.
The 25-year-old woman made her first appearance in front of County Judge Jim McCune via video from the jail. McCune, who was at the Marion County Judicial Center conducting the hearing, told Hunter she was indicted and declined to set bail.
Hunter told the judge that she’s 29 weeks pregnant, lives with her mother and 4-year-old child, and had to stop work because she was placed on bed rest. She said she receives food stamps and her grandparents help her financially.
Unable to afford a private lawyer, Hunter was appointed a public defender. Her next court date was set for December.
The indictment is sealed, so details about the homicide charge are confidential. Grand jury proceedings are not public.
Officials connected to the case said Hunter is charged for her involvement in the murder of a man. Neither the victim’s name nor a possible motive was released. Not many details are known about the deceased, such as his age, if he lived at the residence, and how his body ended up on the property.
In February, sheriff’s deputies discovered the man’s decomposing body, which had been buried in the backyard of a residence located in the Florida Highlands. The Florida Highlands is off State Road 200 near the Withlacoochee River.
Law enforcement officials said they had received a tip that a body was at the location and went there. After talking with two people, deputies got permission to search the area and ultimately found the remains.
Last month, deputies found a second set of human remains on the same property. The remains were located 35 yards to 40 yards apart, officials said.
Authorities said they don’t believe the cases are connected due to the length of time. However, they’re continuing to investigate.
With the second finding, deputies were acting on a tip received from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office officials have not released the address of the property. They said it’s abandoned.
Detectives have enlisted the assistance of the University of Florida’s C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory to put together the victim’s identity.