The body found Thursday in a Hendry County sugarcane field was that of Kimberly Lindsey, a Palm Beach Gardens woman who had been missing, authorities said Friday night.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which made the identification, said that what was a missing person case has turned into a homicide investigation.
It appears that a violent confrontation occurred at Lindsey's home, with her body then removed and taken to the remote area where it was discovered Thursday, the sheriff's office said.
The 49-year-old nurse's body was found in Clewiston, next to Lake Okeechobee. The cause of death has not been determined.
Lindsey had three daughters. Her family has been notified, and informed about the progress of the investigation, said the sheriff's office, which is also providing grief counselors to the family.
Before the positive identification was made, Capt. Susan Harrelle of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office noted that the person could be someone's mother or relative.
“They’re a real human being and someone is going to be grieving their loss,” she said.
More than a hundred people had gathered at a vigil for Lindsey at dusk on Friday, clinging to hope.
"She was a really good nurse to me,” said student Natalie Chavez, crying as she spoke about Lindsey, who she visited every day in school for medication. “And she meant a lot to me. She used to take care of me when I was like sick.”
Friends and family of Lindsey came together Thursday to make a public plea for tips that would bring her home safe.
Her daughter, Sarah, encouraged the community to help.
“She is the most amazing woman I know, and not just because she’s my mom, but that’s just because she is,” she said. “So, please, please, please look for her. Help us find her, help us bring her home safe. That’s the only thing that matters.”
Lindsey was last heard from Sunday, after she texted her daughter that she was home safe from a trip to visit her other daughter on Florida’s west coast. The next morning, Lindsey never came into work at West Palm Beach’s Bak Middle School, where she is a nurse. Lindsey’s co-worker, Roberta Azrak, feared the worst.
“The minute she didn’t work in the door, I knew,” Azrak explained.
Deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office stopped by her Palm Beach Gardens home, and found her car and personal items still there. Azrak said Lindsey was going through a difficult divorce from her husband, which her attorney confirmed.
“There was many, many, many days of her being distraught over the situation that could’ve been, you know, dealt with amicably and she tried,” Azrak said.
The PBSO said it has spoken with Lindsey’s husband.
Ground, water and air searches were launched to find the missing mom, and online, a “Find Kim Lindsey Facebook” page was set up to keep attention on the case.
A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information on the case.
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