PALMETTO -- The body of a 21-year-old man discovered Sunday in a little, yellow, boarded-up house in the 500 block of 12th Street Drive West, Palmetto, may have been taken there after he died.
The victim, identified late Sunday as Collin Mahoney, was probably shot Saturday somewhere other than the yellow house, said Detective Chad Oyler of the Palmetto Police Department.
"It looks like this probably happened sometime during the day Saturday and we have no reason to believe the victim was living in the yellow house," Oyler said of the crime, which has been ruled a homicide. "We think that is probably where he was placed. It doesn't appear he was shot inside there."
"It's not one shot," Oyler added when asked about the victim's wounds.
Mahoney was found in the house about 10:20 a.m. Sunday.
Neighbors have been complaining about squatters in some of the houses on the street so Palmetto Officer Rebecca Evans happened to check the yellow house on Sunday and discovered the body, Oyler said.
Oyler was one of eight law enforcement officials investigating the crime scene Sunday, going so far as to use a metal detector in the back yard of the house across the street to find items and to remove and check things from the house across the street on a diagonal, something
they were able to do with a search warrant.
Oyler said police were thinking there might be a connection in the neighborhood, which is why they searched nearby homes.
"We found a couple of things back there that we thought might be of significance down the road so once we found those we decided to dig a little deeper with a metal detector," Oyler said of the home across the street. "It was mostly just checking as a precaution."
As for the home on a diagonal, nothing major was found during the search, Oyler said.
No gunshots heard
Anita Wilson rents the house directly across the street from the little yellow house where the body was found. It was her yard where the metal detector was at work Sunday. She said she was baffled why police were in her yard with a metal detector.
"I've seen them there all day, but I have no idea what they are looking for," Wilson said.
Wilson said she didn't hear any gunshots and was surprised a body was found.
"This is a quiet neighborhood," Wilson said.
Oyler explained police are just making sure every possibility is covered.
"I'm going to hold off right now," Oyler replied when asked what was found in Wilson's yard that led to the metal detector being used.
Police are wondering if Mahoney was killed in a robbery or a personal dispute or for some other reason, Oyler said.
"I don't know of anything he might have had on him," Oyler said. "I don't know if the motive was robbery. It's hard to tell. I don't know if it was a confrontation that escalated. I don't know if it is something that goes back before this weekend. Right now we are trying to piece all of that together."
"There are a couple of people who have popped up on the radar that we are interested in," Oyler added. "I don't know if I would go as far as calling them suspects yet. We've attempted to talk to them but haven't located them."
There is no evidence that the victim was involved in drugs or gangs, Oyler said.
The public can help by letting Oyler know if they heard gunshots anywhere in the neighborhood on Saturday, Oyler said.
"This is a big area," Oyler said. "Anytime Saturday that anyone saw something, we would like to hear from them. If you were in this area, whether a block over or not, and heard or saw anything suspicious, please let us know."
Oyler requests that witnesses or those with information call him at 941-224-4988.
The slaying is the eighth homicide in Manatee County this month, and the third in the past eight days.
It is the first in the city of Palmetto this year.
Richard Diamond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or via Twitter@RichardDymond