BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A decade-old murder mystery with ties to Boca Raton is closer to being solved, but detectives need your help in closing the case.
Leigh Hobart Abel Jr was 78 when he vanished from Volusia County on December 20th, 2001. His car — a GMC Suburban SUV — was later found in Boca Raton — at 8377 Trent Circle.
Read on for the dramatic media update just released from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department:
Skeletal remains that were located earlier this year near McCullough Creek, in the Southwest part of the county, have been tentatively identified pending additional DNA testing. Those remains are believed to be those of a missing person out of Volusia County identified as Leigh Hobart Abel Jr., who was 78 at the time of his disappearance on 20 December 2001. Foul play is suspected and his death is believed to be the result of a homicide.
The victim had retired with his wife of 56 years, Margaret, to Orange City, Florida in 1989. On the day of his disappearance he went fishing at the beach at the Canaveral National Seashore Park, which he had done many times before. The victim had disappeared without a trace and his vehicle, a 1999 GMC Suburban SUV, was located a year later abandoned in Boca Raton, Florida. By the time authorities located his vehicle in South Florida, no evidence could be found and his location was still unknown.
At the time of Able’s disappearance he was wearing a blue sweatshirt, blue shorts, a yellow gold colored wedding band, dentures, and a tan polo shirt. The clothing described in the Volusia case fits the clothing located with the remains earlier this year. Also located with the remains was a GMC ignition key. The victim’s actual vehicle was located in Miami Gardens earlier this year and detectives successfully started the vehicle with the found key. Based on the clothing match and vehicle key match, the victim was presumptively identified as Able.
Able was a World War II veteran and he and his wife had previously resided in New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin before retiring to Florida. His wife died in October of last year and a daughter, Diane, died in July of last year. Another daughter, Linda Balch, presently resides in Edmore, Michigan.
Robbery/Homicide detectives would like to locate two individuals who may have information concerning this investigation. Witnesses observed a male subject near the
victim before he vanished. The subject was described as a clean-shaven Caucasian male in his twenties. This subject was never identified, however, this is a composite sketch of the individual sought for questioning.
Another possible lead in the investigation comes from
a CrimeStoppers tip that was received by the Volusia
County Sheriff’s Office in November 2003 apparently in
response to flyers that were distributed in the area where Mr.
Able’s vehicle had been located a year following his disappearance. The CrimeStoppers tip stated that a white male, who goes by the nickname “:Ziggy” has information regarding this investigation. The tipster further stated that “Ziggy” lived by himself at a Fort Lauderdale second floor apartment. “Ziggy” was described as being 5’10” tall with a medium build and short brown hair and brown eyes. The tipster and “Ziggy” have never been identified.
Anyone with any information concerning the disappearance of Mr. Able is asked to contact Detective Eugene Tolbert at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at (904) 209-3985. You can also remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers of N.E. Florida at 1-(888) 277-TIPS (8477).