Shortly before 11:30 on Sunday, March 8, 2015, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a body seen in Crystal Lake. Deputies responded to North Crystal Lake Drive to investigate. Emergency medical personnel also responded and confirmed the victim was deceased.
The victim, later identified as 31-year-old Simon James Deming, 2045 Mullet Road, Auburndale, was seen floating face up approximately 15 feet from the shoreline behind 2341 Crystal Lake Drive North.
The decedent was dressed in dark pants, basketball style shoes, and a long sleeve camouflage shirt. A Florida Driver’s License, Social Security Card, and bank cards were found in Deming’s clothes. There was no apparent trauma observed; an autopsy will determine cause and manner of death.
Through the death investigation, PCSO detectives learned Lakeland Police responded to the area of 1216 Honey Tree Lane at approximately 8:00 pm, on Friday, February 27, 2015, in an attempt to locate Deming for an outstanding probable cause arrest affidavit for Burglary, Domestic Violence and Theft.
Deming was known to frequent the Honey Tree residence and also known to drive a black Ford Explorer. Officers observed the vehicle at the Honey Tree residence and then saw it leave the area at a high rate of speed with no headlights.
Lakeland Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but it fled towards the area of Hester Drive and Crystal Lake Drive North. Lakeland Officers found the black Ford Explorer abandoned behind 1414 Hester Drive (this is a lakefront residence on Crystal Lake), but were unable to locate Deming.
During the death investigation, PCSO detectives learned Deming’s family and friends have not heard from him since February 27th when he fled from LPD police officers. Detectives also learned from a family member that Deming had previously told family members that he had successfully fled from law enforcement in the past by hiding in bodies of water to conceal himself.
It appears likely that Deming attempted to conceal himself in Crystal Lake while being sought by police on the 27th. The investigation is ongoing.
Deming has been in the Polk County Jail 17 times. He was last released from custody on January 22, 2015. Deming’s criminal arrest history includes Burglary, Theft, Drug Possession, Resisting, and Battery Domestic Violence. His arrest history includes 13 felony, 25 misdemeanor charges, 1 Failure to Appear. He has been in state prison custody twice.