Investigators found the body of Cynthia Cole, 57, submerged four feet underground inside the septic tank of her home in Jensen Beach, Florida, about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach.
The discovery comes just two days after Cole was reported missing. She was last seen at a community music and arts event known as the Jammin’ Jensen in Downtown Jensen Beach on Feb. 24.
Shortly after finding Cole’s body, police arrested her handyman, 34-year-old Keoki Hilo Demich, who has been charged with second-degree murder.
“The first person that we really came across that was of interest was a person she had known, as far we know, for years. It was a handyman, somebody who just helped her,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told reporters this weekend. “She was a single woman alone, he helped her.”
Snyder added, “Fairly soon after we began talking to him, we became suspicious. We got so suspicious we began doing almost around the clock surveillance.”
According to Snyder, security footage showed Demich exiting Cole’s car near Demich’s home the same night that Cole was last seen.
“It was probably as challenging a crime scene as I’ve ever seen,” Snyder said. I’ve been doing this 40 plus years. I’ve never seen anything like it. None of us had any experience in recovering evidence from a septic tank. It took us all night.”
Snyder believes robbery could’ve been a possible motive.