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Date of Issue: June 04, 2008

Homicide case remains open six months later

In the days after the discovery of Carla Beard’s body in a bed of seagrape leaves behind a beach house, Holmes Beach police knew time was critical.

Beard, 29, was not from the Island, and anyone who knew of her arrival to the Island or of her death might also be only a visitor, officers suspected.

May 26 marked the six-month anniversary of Beard’s death and June 1 marked the six-month anniversary of the discovery of her body near the beach at 50th Street and Fifth Avenue in Holmes Beach. Renters looking for the source of an odor came across Beard’s remains on Dec. 1, 2007.

In the time that has passed, HBPD detective Sgt. Terri Davis said a number of possible leads have been followed and tips checked out.

Davis declined to elaborate, citing an open investigation. But she said people as recently as two weeks ago provided HBPD with possible leads.

“We’re still seeking information,” she said. “Any kind of lead, we pursue them all.”

Davis said just two weeks ago a man provided possible information in the Beard case to HBPD. “People say, ‘I didn’t think about it before but…’”

Such a detail may eventually lead authorities to solve the homicide, Davis said.

Beard had gone missing after leaving a Sarasota First Step substance abuse treatment center Nov. 26, 2007. Officials believe she died soon after she left facility.

HBPD investigators went to work to build a timeline, as well as pursue leads in Beard’s disappearance and death by a blow to the head. Chief Jay Romine urged witnesses to step forward, saying “somebody out there … knows what happened.”

The Gold Star Club of Manatee County continues to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and the Manatee County Crime Stoppers has put up an additional $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Authorities are urging anyone with information about Beard’s death to call the Holmes Beach Police Department at 941-708-5800. Anonymous tips may also be made to Manatee County Crime Stoppers hotline at 866-634-8477 (TIPS) or at www.manateecrimestoppers.com/anonymoustips.html.