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Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies Investigating Suspicious Death Near 80 Ft. Rd. In Bartow


Polk County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit is investigating the murder of 21-year-old Joseph Wayne Witherington of Lakeland. Witherington’s body was found in an orange grove off of Mud Lake Road (cross street 80 Foot Road) in Alturas, around 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, March 28, 2019, by grove caretakers who were in the area.

Preliminary investigation reveals that Witherington was killed and left in the grove by an unknown suspect or suspects.

“If anyone has information about the violent death of this young man, you can and will remain anonymous AND be eligible for a CASH reward by contacting Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477), or submit a tip through their website or mobile app. Someone knows what happened to Joseph and how he ended up in that orange grove, and one way or another we will identify and arrest whoever is responsible. You might as well make some money – call Crime Stoppers.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

This is the only information we are releasing this evening. If we are able to release more tomorrow, we will do so.