VCSO: Decomposing body found in DeBary that of 48-year-old woman last seen alive Nov. 8

Debra Annette Smith was planning to walk to Sanford

Locator map where decomposing body of woman found in DeBary, FL / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® graphic / Debra Annette Smith's badly decomposing body was found in an open field off of South Leisure World Drive near Barwick Road, as shown in this locator map. The ME's Office won't have details on the 48-year-old DeBary woman's cause of death until toxicology reports come back in a few weeks.

DEBARY -- A decomposed body found Wednesday in an open field in DeBary Wednesday morning has been identified as that of 48-year-old Debra Annette Smith, last seen alive Nov. 8, when she left her home after getting into a minor verbal dispute with her partner, a Volusia County Sheriff's official said.

"The body was discovered off of South Leisure World Drive near Barwick Road by a resident in the area who contacted the Sheriff's Office at 10:21 a.m.," agency spokesman Gary Davidson told Headline Surfer®. "The man who reported it said he saw someone lying under some bushes, but it wasn't discovered that the victim was dead until deputies arrived on scene."

"The body was discovered off of South Leisure World Drive near Barwick Road by a resident in the area who contacted the Sheriff's Office at 10:21 a.m.," agency spokesman Gary Davidson told Headline Surfer®. "The man who reported it said he saw someone lying under some bushes, but it wasn't discovered that the victim was dead until deputies arrived on scene."

As a result of an autopsy conducted Thursday by the Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office, the victim has been positively identified as 48-year-old Debra Annette Smith of DeBary. She hadn't been seen since Monday after the argument with her partner, Davidson said, adding the Sheriff's Office's Major Case Unit is investigating.

"When she left the residence, Smith said that she was planning to walk to Sanford and stay with a friend there," the Sheriff's spokesman said. "However, she never arrived and was reported missing on Monday. The cause of death is pending the toxicology results."

When sheriff's deputies first came upon the body, it was so badly decomposed, they couldn't tell if it was male or female, but the ME's office confirmed the gender during autopsy. And a positive ID was made as that of Smith.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.