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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 7/11/2012 

 Update To Death Investigation In Polk City: Victim Identified, Suspect In Custody 

Polk County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives, through the use of dental records, have positively identified the victim in the suspicious death incident in Polk City yesterday, as 20-year-old Laura Michelle Hunt, DOB 5/18/1992, of 1308 Whitehurst Road in Plant City. Her death has been ruled a homicide, and her ex-boyfriend has been arrested and charged with First Degree Murder. 

According to the affidavit, Hunt’s body was found in a wooded area near 300 Walker Lane (cross street Berkley Road) in Polk City on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, by a man who works in the area. PCSO detectives responded to the scene and determined Hunt was the victim of a homicide. It was estimated Hunt’s body was there for approximately 18-24 hours before being found.

An autopsy was conducted today, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Hunt’s cause of death has been ruled manual strangulation, and her manner of death has been ruled homicide.

On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, PCSO Homicide detectives took 21-year-old Patrick Eugene Wilkey, DOB 11/11/1990, of 3044 Lantana Circle in Auburndale into custody and charged him with one count First Degree Murder. Wilkey confessed to choking Hunt to death on July 9, 2012, and then driving around in her car with her body in the trunk for two days before dumping her body in Polk City. He told detectives he drove to visit his mother in Cape Coral, and he also used Hunt's credit card to fill her car up with gas, while her body was in the trunk.

Wilkey was being booked into the Polk County Jail on Wednesday, July 11th. Here is Wilkey’s criminal history:

December 2008 – arrested by PCSO – Burglary, Grand Larceny of Firearm, Dealing in Stolen Property

June 2009 – arrested by Miami Beach PD – Vehicle Theft

January 2010 – arrested by PCSO – Grand Larceny

April 2010 – arrested by Lee County SO – Out of County Warrant, Burglary, Criminal Mischief

May 2010 – arrested by Lee County SO – Out of County Warrant

July 2010 – arrested by PCSO – Failure to Appear, VOP

Thank you for all of our help in publishing this victim’s tattoo photo and information – it absolutely resulted in us being able to identify her and subsequently arrest the man responsible for killing her.