A Marathon man was arrested in the death of a woman whose naked body was found in a wooded area by a fisherman near the Vaca Cut Bridge Wednesday afternoon.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives say it appears the woman was dragged off a walking trail into nearby brush. Police have not released a possible cause of death.
“How the victim died and whether she was sexually assaulted also remains part of an ongoing investigation, part of which includes the pending autopsy,” Adam Linhardt, sheriff’s office spokesman, said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Steven Matthew Wolf, 58, was arrested Thursday on charges of second-degree murder and felony evidence destroying, as well as a misdemeanor charge of failing to report a death to the medical examiner. He had been in custody for questioning, but not arrested, since Wednesday, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam LInhardt said.
The trees and brush where the woman was found were plowed through by a vehicle, and van parts were found strewn about, Linhardt said.
Deputies found a damaged van in the parking lot of the Kmart shopping center at 5561 Overseas Highway. The auto parts found in the woods appeared to match the van, but that’s part of an ongoing forensic investigation, Linhardt said.
“We had Wolf in custody within hours of the body being found,” Linhardt said.
Police also found blood in the van that tested positive as human. Detectives, however, have not concluded that it was the victim’s blood, Linhardt said.
The fisherman was on a shore when he found the body north of the bridge in Marathon, Linhardt said. Police have not released the cause of death or details about the types of wounds or injuries found on the body, other than confirming the woman’s clothing had been removed.
According to information on the sheriff’s office website, Wolf works in construction, and his address is listed as the “streets of Marathon.” He is being held in Key West jail on no bond.
Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying the body. Police described her as a white woman with sandy brown hair, 50 to 60 years old, and about five-foot-eight and 150 to 180 pounds.
Detectives have used her fingerprints to try to find out who she is, Linhardt said.
“They have also cross-referenced all available information on our law enforcement databases, including facial recognition software, in an attempt to identify her,” Linhardt said. “Those efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.”
Police also want to talk to anyone who saw Wolf between 9 a.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Wednesday, or if they saw the type of green Dodge conversion van he was driving with an American flag bug shield above the grill within that same time window.
“This is a very sad case that began while most residents were enjoying time with their families and friends for Thanksgiving,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement. “I’m very pleased and thankful to our Major Crimes and Criminal Investigations Unit detectives, our Road Patrol deputies as well as our partners at the State Attorney’s Office who rose to the occasion to make a very timely arrest, ensuring there was no ongoing threat to our community.”
Anyone with information about her identity or how she died can call Crime Stoppers at 866-471-TIPS (8477); go to the Florida Keys Crime Stoppers web page; text via the P3 Phone app; or use @305CrimeStoppers on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.