The family of Joel Patrick Smith of Brandon, reported missing and endangered in November 2011, has been notified of the grisly find of human bones at a townhome construction site off Providence Lakes Boulevard, just south of Causeway Boulevard, according to a report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
In all, nine human bones have been discovered at the site, with a preliminary identification determined "based on other personal items recovered at the scene," according to the Dec. 21 report.
Among the items reportedly recovered were clothing, a tennis shoe and a cell phone that belonged to Smith, 51, of 1523 Grand Isle Drive in Brandon, which is near the construction site.
Deputies notified Smith's family of the discovery, but DNA lab tests from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement "still must officially confirm Mr. Smith's identity," according to the report.
The investigation got under way after citizens walking a dog in the field Dec. 15 found a human bone. At the time, all the sheriff's office could confirm was that the bone was "a human femur."
Since then, the site had been secured for an extensive dig investigation, aided with support from members of the University of South Florida anthropology department and the Hillsborough County maintenance department.
"More than 1,000 sheriff's office hours were logged on the dig, which began less
than a week ago, as investigators combed through more than 372 cubic yards of
dirt," according to the sheriff's Dec. 21 report.