GROVELAND, Fla. - A woman found dead near a Groveland home over the weekend has been identified as a missing Orlando woman, Lake County deputies said.
Essence Owens, 23, was found dead on Douglas Road by a realtor Saturday evening, deputies said.
Owens was reported missing to the Orlando Police Department on Aug. 15.
"The only thing we can do right now is hope that if anybody seen something, just to come forward and say something," cousin Erica Owens told Channel 9’s Michael Lopardi.
Deputies have said Owens death is suspicious, but have not said how she died. She was found in a shallow grave in a wooded area, deputies said.
"It's sleepless. It's worry. I just really don't know what's going on," said Erica Owens.
Investigators believe the person responsible for the death knew the property well because the home is in a remote area of the county.
The home has been abandoned for years and the owner of the property lives in North Florida and doesn't have any connection to the incident, deputies said.
"It's very sad for friends and family right now. She has two little girls that need her and she was only 23, so she was very young," said the victim's friend, Carisa Woodson.
Family and friends said Owens would never have gone as far from home as Lake County.
"She had a family that loved her. She had friends that... she had people that cared about her," said Erica Owens.
Court records show Owens had a criminal record in Orange County, which includes prostitution charges.
Anyone with information concerning Owens' recent whereabouts or who she was with recently is asked to call either the Sheriff's Office at 352-343-2101 or Central Florida CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).
Lake County Sheriff identifies woman found dead in Groveland as Essence Owens, 23, of Orlando #WFTV— Michael Lopardi (@MLopardiWFTV) August 22, 2017
Owens was reported missing to Orlando Police on Aug. 15 #WFTV— Michael Lopardi (@MLopardiWFTV) August 22, 2017
© 2019 Cox Media Group.