St Johns County Sheriff David Shoar informed Historic City News reporters in St Augustine that the skeletal remains located earlier this year near McCullough Creek, have been positively identified through DNA testing as those of Leigh Hobart Abel Jr.
A postmortem examination of the remains, including the DNA analysis, led District 23 Medical Examiner, Dr. Predag Bulic, to rule Abel’s death a homicide. Abel, who was 78-years-old, disappeared from Volusia County on December 20, 2001.
The men and women of the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office have purchased a marker that was placed in the area where the victim’s remains were located in February with hopes of generating leads and to provide some closure to his family.
The victim and his wife of 56 years, Margaret, retired in 1989 to Orange City.
On the day of his disappearance he went fishing at the beach at the Canaveral National Seashore Park, which he had done many times before.
The victim disappeared without a trace. His vehicle, a 1999 GMC Suburban, was located, abandoned, in Boca Raton a year later. By the time authorities located the vehicle, no useable evidence could be found.
The clothing described in the Volusia County missing person case matched the clothing located with the remains earlier this year. Also located with the remains was a GMC ignition key. The victim’s actual vehicle was located in Miami Gardens earlier this year and detectives successfully started the vehicle with the recovered key.
Anyone with information concerning this crime is asked to contact the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at (904) 824-8304. You can remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).