SOUTH DAYTONA — The body found in a patch of woods at a mobile home park is an unidentified man and not missing park resident Goldie Robinson, police said Thursday.
The twist on the disappearance of Robinson, 78, left her son not knowing how to feel. Fred Roberts of Baltimore called police Sunday after he couldn't reach his mother for a few months.
"I feel relieved and scared to death," Roberts said after learning the body was not his mother. "I just want to know where she is."
The development leaves police with two mysteries to solve.
An autopsy performed Thursday did not immediately reveal the cause of death, police said. They found the body a day earlier hidden in palmettos and underbrush across the street from Robinson's mobile home, they said.
"Nature did not cover up the body that way," South Daytona Police Chief Bill Hall said.
Officers will begin checking on several dozen men reported missing in Orange Seminole, Volusia and Flagler counties, Hall said.
"It's going to be an extensive list to go through," he said.
In addition, officers plan to re-interview people they've talked to, including Robinson's neighbors. The body was found on a large lot where Kimberly Smith and her boyfriend live, Twin Oaks park manager Gerald Harry said. Robinson was friends with Smith.
A police report indicates that Smith's son, who is married, also lives there, but Harry said he's in and out.
Officers executed a search warrant at Smith's home Wednesday night but would not disclose whether they found anything of value to their investigation. Neither Smith nor anyone in her household has been named a suspect.
The State Attorney's Office in Volusia County and police are investigating jointly, South Daytona police Lt. Ron Wright said. The police force consists of 31 full-time and six part-time officers, he said.
The discovery of a man's body sends the case in new directions, said Wright, the department spokesman.
"This is a twist, and now we're back to square one again," he said.
Roberts became suspicious after Smith told him that his mother had gotten married and gone to the Carolinas on vacation, he said. There is no record of a marriage in Florida, and a picture of the newlyweds that Roberts said Smith sent him may be inauthentic, a police report shows.
Harry found Smith's son inside Robinson's trailer on Aug. 18 and told him to leave, a police report states.
"We're normally so quiet, no trouble at all," Harry said. The 48-unit park, off Nova Road, has dozens of magnolia trees and large oaks shading the rows of well-kept homes and manicured yards. Many retirees live there, neighbors said.
Wind chimes hung from the rafters at Robinson's home today, and a few potted plants sat outside. Her son said she took pride in her garden and kept the interior of her home tidy.
But when he went inside Sunday with police, he found a mess and most of her possessions missing. Full ashtrays and children's toys were scattered about. Robinson lived alone and hadn't smoked in years. She needed a breathing machine because she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Roberts said.
Robinson spent her life working hard, volunteering at church and raising a family. In her younger years, she worked in a meatpacking factory and as a Denny's waitress. She still worked part-time taking tickets at a beachside movie theater because she liked to stay busy and be around people, her family said.
Robinson's pastor, Ronnie Barton of First Baptist Church of South Daytona, said members are concerned about her.
"This isn't like Goldie," Barton said.
Residents at the mobile home park considered Robinson "a grandma to everybody," Harry said. He recalled that Smith gave Robinson a small oleander tree for Mother's Day this year. He helped plant it in the front yard, he said.
The last time he saw the elderly woman was sometime between mid-June and about July 1. Smith later told him Robinson had gotten married and gone on an extended honeymoon, he said.
"I sure would be happy if she had gotten married and gone up to the Carolinas," said Wright, the police lieutenant.
Smith, 44, has been in the Orange County Jail for about two weeks. She is serving 364 days for violating her probation in a stolen-identity case. Court records show she used another woman's identity to rent an apartment.
She has a history of convictions on bad-check charges and was sentenced to five years in prison in 2001 for passing a bad check for $3,805.24 to a Chevrolet dealership in Volusia County in 1999, authorities said.
Harry said he had not known Smith's real name until Robinson disappeared and police found the man's body. Smith had rented the lot in March 2009 in her daughter-in-law's maiden name, and Smith's boyfriend paid the monthly $275 rent, he said.Copyright © 2015, CT Now