Mysterious arm may be identified

LEESBURG — Lee County fire and law enforcement officials have given up the search for a mysterious “severed arm” sighted in the Kinchafoonee Creek on Saturday.

James Howell, Lee County’s fire chief, said once it was learned the arm had been floating in the water, it became a “needle in a haystack” situation with recovery deemed too unlikely to continue.

“Two people were out wading in the creek,” Howell said. “and when they saw it they were pretty upset. They were convinced they’d seen a human arm.”

Not only that, but it seems there’s at least some indication the arm may not be human, but part of a mannequin which had somehow gotten near the creek.

“We had the Lee County rescue dive team out there late Saturday,” Howell said. “The next day members of the Dougherty County dive team were there to help. The (Lee County) Sheriff’s Office was there too, and EMS. Around noon we talked to the people who had seen the arm. That’s when we were told it had been floating.”

Howell said the arm could have miles away by that time. Around 1 p.m. Sunday, when operations to withdraw were in full swing, a boater came by to say he’d spotted a mannequin in a tree near where the arm had been reported.

“I don’t want to give the impression this was a department store mannequin,” Howell said. “The mannequins used by EMS and medical practice are very lifelike.”

According to Howell, if further information comes to light about the mysterious arm, the search will begin again. Until that time, Lee County officials are halting the search, Howell said.