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Date of Issue: December 26, 2007

Police still investigating death

Carla Ann Beard

Nearly a month after the death of Carla Ann Beard, Holmes Beach Police Department investigators continue to pursue leads in the Island’s only homicide of 2007.

The body of the 29-year-old Sarasota woman was discovered Dec. 1 under a seagrape tree behind a beachfront house at 50th Street and Fifth Avenue in Holmes Beach. Renters looking for the source of an odor found Beard’s body.

Authorities conducted an autopsy the next day and determined that Beard had died of blunt force trauma to the head days before she was found. An autopsy report will not be released while the case remains active, according to Betty Parsons, office manager of the District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office.

Beard left a First Step substance abuse treatment center in Sarasota Nov. 26, and police believe her whereabouts after that time are crucial to solving the case.

The Gold Star Club of Manatee County has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Beard’s death.

The Manatee County Crime Stoppers has put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Beard case.

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).