Florida’s Hidden Treasures – Part 3

As a mystery writer, I try to peer into the strange and mysterious side of Florida, which is part of the intrigue!

It’s not only my love for beach weather that compels me to set the Hunt for Justice Mystery Series in the Sunshine State. It’s the rich history. There’s also something about the contrast between the beautiful weather and mystery that makes stories more compelling, I think. Murder in Paradise is a tantalizing theme. Don’t you agree?

In my latest Hunt for Justice thriller, Night Justice, Judge Willa Carson kills a man. Or did she? Privately, the coroner says Evan Hayden was as good as dead from an overdose of toxic heroin when he lunged in front of Willa’s car. But the scandal mongers don’t know or care about the legal nuances.

Last week we looked into the Coral Castle, an engineering marvel that some have dubbed as one of Florida’s great mysteries. This week we’ll be exploring yet another of Florida’s many hidden treasures — but this time with a darker twist.

The Everglades are Florida’s tropical wetlands that sprawl over several thousand miles. Home to a wide variety of wildlife, from various birds to crocodiles and snakes, the Everglades pose just as much danger as they do beauty.

Image courtesy of FloridaMuseum

The Everglades have earned a sinister reputation due to a myriad of unsolved murders, vanishings, and other mysterious happenings. Its believed that a series of serial killers may have inhabited these swampy marshes.

To date, there are still over 175 unsolved homicides that have occurred in the Everglades since 1965. Most of these crimes have taken place in Collier County, which covers 2,025 square miles of sparsely inhabited swampland.

Over 400 missing people are reported each year in the County. Several of the area’s vanishings have become high profile missing person’s cases.

The Jeanette Smith case is one of the many shocking discoveries made in Collier County.

In 1999, Orlando Maytin and his son were out fishing in Alligator Alley when they accidentally found the remains of a missing woman whose body has been stuffed in a cardboard box and dumped in the Everglades. 

Image courtesy of FloridaMuseum

The Everglade’s thick swamps and tall sawgrass makes it an ideal location to cover up tracks and hide evidence. The County is home to many transients who pass through the area, making it even more challenging to solve these cases.

In addition to these unfortunate circumstances, the Everglades is also home to a “Lost City”. About 8 miles south of Alligator Alley is a remote three-acre site that is an abandoned Seminole village. It has been rumored that the legendary gangster Al Capone used the abandoned city to host his bootlegging operation.

What say you? Would you visit Florida’s Everglades? If you do – watch your back! You never know who or what may be following you…

Want to learn more about Florida? Start reading NIGHT JUSTICE now and you’ll be glued to the page! Buy your copy HERE.

Meanwhile —

Caffeinate and Carry On!

Diane Capri

p.s. Are you a member of the Diane Capri’s Exclusive Reading Group mailing list? It’s FREE! Just CLICK HERE to sign up and refer your friends, too. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. Can’t wait to see you there!


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