20-year-old Suspicious death victim identified, 21-year-old ex admits to murder

4:16 AM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
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  • 2010 mugshot of Patrick Wilkey
  • Laura Hunt's driver's license photo



Polk City, Florida--  Sheriff's Homicide detectives utilized dental records to identify the victim in the suspicious death incident in Polk City yesterday.

Officials say the victim has been identified as 20-year-old Laura Michelle Hunt from Plant City. 

Her death has been ruled a homicide, and her ex-boyfriend, 21-year-old Patrick Wilkey, has been arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.

According to the affidavit, Gary Walker found Hunt's body yesterday in a wooded area near his home, around the intersection of 300 Walker Lane and Berkley Road.

Walker stated he was pulling into his driveway when he noticed buzzards flying away from the woods.  He parked his truck, walked towards the area, and found Hunt's body lying face down in a black, hooded shirt with no pants on and a black belt around her neck.  

Walker notified emergency officials, and PCSO detectives responded to the scene. 

Officials say they determined Hunt's body laid in the wooded area for approximately 18-24 hours before being found.

Reports indicate an autopsy conducted today ruled Hunt's cause of death as manual strangulation, and her manner of death a homicide.

PCSO Homicide detectives took Wilkey into custody and charged him with one count First Degree Murder. 

According to officials, Wilkey confessed to choking Hunt to death on Monday, July 9. They say he also admitted to driving around in her car with her body in the trunk for two days before dumping her body in Polk City. 

He told detectives he drove to visit his mother in Cape Coral, and he also used Hunt's credit card to fill her car up with gas, while her body was in the trunk.

Wilkey has been booked at the Polk County Jail. 

He has the following criminal history:

  • December 2008, arrested by PCSO: Burglary, Grand Larcenyof Firearm, Dealing in Stolen Property
  • June 2009, arrested by Miami Beach PD: Vehicle Theft
  • January 2010, arrested by PCSO: Grand Larceny
  • April 2010, arrested by Lee County SO: Out of CountyWarrant, Burglary, Criminal Mischief
  • May 2010, arrested by Lee County SO: Out of CountyWarrant
  • July 2010, arrested by PCSO: Failure to Appear, VOP

Previous story:

Polk County Sheriff's investigate suspicious death of woman

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