POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A body found in a wooded area near the Polk-Osceola county line is that of missing teenager Alexandria Chery, according to a family member.
A female body was found in a wooded area Friday morning, but deputies said it still has not been positively identified.
“The ME’s Office will exhaust additional efforts to complete this grim task,” Jane Watrel, a sheriff’s spokeswoman, said in a statement. “In the meantime, OCSO investigators will move forward with their tireless efforts as if the recovered body is that of Alexandria Chery.”
Chery's uncle, Ray Joseph, spoke to the media Saturday evening, saying the family was briefed on the Medical Examiner's results, which he said showed that the body is likely that of Alexandria Chery.
“I don’t know what to feel right now,” Joseph said. “It’s devastating.”
Chery, 16, has been missing since Monday and her mother's boyfriend, Sanel Saint Simon, has been arrested in connection with the teen's disappearance.
Investigators said they consider the 43-year-old to be the prime suspect in the case because they said he lied about his whereabouts the day Chery disappeared.
Saint Simon told them he was at work, but he was actually driving around in a black Pontiac, according to deputies.
Investigators said sheets were stripped from Chery’s bed, many of her belongings were gone and blood was found on a teddy bear in her bedroom.
They said there was also a strong smell of bleach and they found a pair of bleach-soaked men’s underwear underneath her bed.
At about 9:30 a.m. Friday, Osceola County deputies said they received a call from a citizen who reported discovering a decomposed body in a wooded area off Osceola-Polk Line Road, also known as SR 532, between Reunion and ChampionsGate.
The body's location is not far from where dozens of law-enforcement officers searched for the missing Orange County teenager on Thursday.
“We need the man that’s responsible for Alex’s [death] to stay behind bars, and it is Saint Simon,” Joseph said Saturday evening. “He’s a coward. He’s a monster."