LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Two people are in custody after a man's body was found buried in the back yard of a home in the Mid Florida Lakes retirement community on Sunday, Lake County deputies said.
Late Monday afternoon deputies confirmed that the body is that of Jesse Wachter, 63. They said his death has been ruled a homicide.
Deputies said mulch had been used to cover Wachter's body.
Residents in the community woke up to find deputies investigating the gruesome crime scene on North Lake Drive. Officials said cadaver dogs detected the man's body, which deputies worked to exhume throughout the day.
"This all started last night after 8 p.m. when a neighbor called the
Sheriff's Office to report a suspicious situation," said Lt. John Herrell with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
According to investigators, neighbors became concerned after the homeowner, Jesse Wachter, had not been seen since Nov. 19.
"We had seen the son and we asked where Jesse was, and he told us he was visiting friends in New York," said neighbor Peggy Watts.
Another neighbor called 911 Saturday night when they said they saw Wachter's son, Jesse Jordan, and his girlfriend, Jessica Thigpen, loading up Wachter's belongings onto a trailer.
"He had a Harley, a golf cart and a couple washing machines," said neighbor Darrell Manley.
A newly released report shows Lake County deputies called Wachter's 87-year-old mother, who advised them her grandson and his girlfriend were probably trying to sell the belongings to buy drugs.
Deputies stopped the couple as they were leaving the neighborhood. Officials said the pair, both 28, admitted to being drug addicts and were arrested on multiple drug charges.
The couple was also questioned about Jesse Wachter's disappearance.
"Right now we don't know what happened. We have a lot of unanswered questions ourselves," Herrell said.
"When a person is messing with any kind of drugs, he's not the little boy I knew growing up," said Wachter's brother, Mark Wachter. "The evidence they're saying speaks volumes."
"I'm just saddened and angered about this," one neighbor told Channel 9. "It shouldn't have happened."
"They caught him in time before he left the park," said another neighbor. "He could have left and got away scott free."
Investigators have not released the cause of death.