I was late to the anti-tax rally held on Lake Mirror. I wasn’t stuck in traffic. I stood at the Amtrak terminal. I was within sight of the rally –just around the curve of the lake. However, my attention was on a few Lakeland Police Department officers and technicians. They weren’t concerned with the rally, and paid little attention to the pair of reporters and the photographer that stood watching.
At one point a bus pulled in, and if any of the debarking passengers noticed the smell, they didn’t wonder aloud. I’m sure they had to notice it. Once you’ve experienced it, it’s a smell you will recognize immediately. Decomposition — the breakdown of flesh after death.
I stood as LPD public information officer Jack Gillen explained, more than once, that the body was an unidentified adult female. She was found by a citizen at approximately 11:20 am. The technicians reported her body was in an advance state of decomposition and LPD felt the circumstances were “suspicious.”
In my short time in Lakeland I’ve learned LPD doesn’t offer up wild theories, nor needless speculation. That was the gist of what Gillen wanted to relate at that point. He promised more after the Medical Examiner and the technicians could finish their investigations. At that date, I am sure Shoshana Walter will file a detailed report. I doubt seriously I will feel the need to revisit the story.
Standing there, I was struck by the dichotomy of the scene. In the distance hundreds of people up in arms about taxes. Everyday folks waving clever signs cajoling horn beeps from passing motorists. Closer a few soft voices as techs took photos and discussed what they could see.
After the rally, people wandered off to their cars for a drive home, or work; to get on with their lives. An unidentified adult woman, whose life ended behind an insular train station, waited for a ride to the morgue.