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Agencies joining forces to solve severed leg mystery | Crime

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Agencies joining forces to solve severed leg mystery

Tampa, Florida -- Investigators declined to elaborate, but say they're following at least one new lead in the case of severed leg that washed ashore in St. Petersburg back on December 27th.

With so many agencies now involved, lawmen have decided to combine their efforts to help solve the gruesome mystery. Representatives from several departments emerged from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office Thursday in Ybor City, agreeing to form a multi-agency panel.

"Each agency has committed personnel to the investigation," said Detective Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "We will be sharing information amongst each other. We'll be communicating amongst each other."

DNA tests show the leg, recovered by St. Petersburg police, belonged to 38-year-old Kelly Moriarty. Moriarty's family reported her missing to Bradenton police in January.

Moriarty and her partner of two years, 62-year-old Doris Carter, both disappeared the week before Christmas from Plant City in Hillsborough County, which is why HCSO got involved in the case.

Moriarty's abandoned car was then found on Highway 62 by Manatee County deputies.

With so many jurisdictions involved, creating the multi-agency panel seemed to make sense.

"At the end of the day, when we've determined where that crime occurred, that agency will be able to take that investigation and successfully prosecute it," said McKinnon.

Investigators are also turning to weather and marine experts for their advice and expertise.

Using tide, current and wind information, they hope to determine if Moriarty's leg was placed in the water from the north or the south. It may even help them focus the location of their investigation.

"They should have some conclusion to when that leg or where that leg was put in the water," said McKinnon.

Investigators say they're also working with the Pinellas County medical examiner to see if tests conducted on Moriarty's severed leg can help determine how she was killed.

Meanwhile, new information is also emerging about Moriarty's 1998 Cadillac. The car itself, although abandoned on the highway, appears to have been working just fine.

"There was no evidence that a crime had occurred inside that car," said McKinnon. "So it's just a mystery as to why it was left there and who it was left by."

Detectives still don't know whether Carter, who still hasn't been heard from, had a role in Moriarty's death or whether she too is a victim.

They're asking anyone who may have seen the women or the car in the week leading up to Christmas to contact police.


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