The body of a Florida mother, Jeana Burrus, who was found buried in a shallow grave in a Sarasota neighborhood in 2007, has finally been identified. The body was discovered by a teenager and had been buried for at least seven months before being found. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is now seeking information about Jeana, her husband, and the circumstances surrounding her death. Those with information are urged to contact the sheriff’s office. Irene Wright reported
A perplexing case that spans over 16 years continues as law enforcement officials identify a Jane Doe in Florida as a mother who was never reported missing.
In February 2007, the remains of a human body were discovered in a shallow grave in a wooded area near a Sarasota neighborhood, as stated in a press release by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office on August 2.
According to the Herald-Tribune, the body was found by a teenager and was lying on its side in a 3-foot hole.
“This is not a typical location for a homicide,” said Lt. Skip Wood of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in 2010. “Someone has clearly taken great care to conceal the presence of a body in this area.”
Following the discovery of the body, medical examiners determined that the person had died from blunt force trauma, as reported by the Herald-Tribune. They also determined that the body belonged to a white woman aged between 30 and 40 years old, and had been buried for at least seven months before being found.
In 2022, with advancements in genetic technology, the sheriff’s office collaborated with DNA Labs International Inc. to create a genetic profile for the unidentified body, according to the press release.
Using the DNA profile, the Florida-based company was able to identify the woman’s identity after 16 years. The body was identified as that of Jeana Lynn Burrus, a 39-year-old woman, as announced by the sheriff’s office.
According to the press release, Burrus was unemployed and lived with her husband, James, and their son in Sarasota, which is just a few miles away from where her body was discovered.
Her husband worked at a local body shop, and their son attended a nearby elementary school.
Before moving to Sarasota County, the Burrus family had previously lived in Citrus County and Maryland, as stated in the press release.
“The investigation into Jeana’s death was further complicated by the fact that her family never reported her missing, and her whereabouts were not questioned,” said the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office conducted searches at the Burrus family’s former residence and the body shop where James had been employed as part of the investigation, according to an email statement to McClatchy News.
“We know that James abruptly left Sarasota and moved to California,” said Detective Mark Lefebve of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to WWSB. “He was there for a short period, and we believe a crime stoppers report relating to this case was submitted to the media around that time. Then he abruptly left California and returned to Maryland.”
The sheriff’s office confirmed that James is currently residing in Maryland.
Investigators revealed that James’ story had inconsistencies during their conversations with him. Additionally, the couple’s son stated that he was informed that his mother had abandoned the family, which was also confirmed by the sheriff’s office.
Now, the sheriff’s office is appealing to the public for any information regarding Jeana, her husband, or the circumstances surrounding her death.
If you have any information, please call 941-861-4900.
Sarasota is located approximately 60 miles south of Tampa.
This story was originally published August 4, 2023, 11:39 AM.