Man hunting deer finds strange marks on the ground. It led to a body, deputies say

Deputies are investigating after a hunter’s intuition led to the discovery of human remains in the Ocala National Forest.

The hunter told officials he and his friends were searching for deer when he noticed what appeared to be deer scratchings on the ground off a dirt road near Umatilla last Tuesday afternoon, according to the Marion County Sheriff Office.

The man said that, when he returned Sunday, he asked his friend to bring him a shovel because he noticed leaves covering the area and found it “suspicious,” according to an incident report.

Clearing the brush covering the spot, the hunter then began digging and noticed that the area “smelled really bad like death,” according to the report. He then had his friend contact Florida Fish & Wildlife, who reported it to Marion deputies.

The body was found off a dirt road near Umatilla in the Ocala National Forest, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s office. Marion County Sheriff's Office

Investigators searched the area late Sunday into early Monday and are treating the discovery as a “suspicious incident,” said Ceceilia Koon, sheriff office spokeswoman.

The Marion County Sheriff Office declined to provide any additional details about the human remains.

The body cam footage mentioned in the incident report will also not be released because the incident is still an active investigation, she said.

Detectives are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective O’Cull at 352‐732‐9111. You can also phone anonymous tips to the Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352‐368‐STOP or 352‐368‐7867. Tips may be submitted at www.ocalacrimestoppers.com.

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM