Deputies identify human remains in Leesburg yard as missing man

By Lisa McDonald, Assignment Editor, lmcdonald@wkmg.com
Published On: Jan 12 2014 01:44:29 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 13 2014 04:46:02 PM EST

Human remains are found in the back yard of a missing Central Florida man's home, leading to the arrests of his son and his son's girlfriend.

LEESBURG, Fla. -

Deputies have identified on Monday the human remains found in the back yard of a Leesburg home as the missing man, leading to the arrests of his son and his son's girlfriend.

Lake County deputies said the remains, which were found Sunday, are Jesse Wachter, 63, who has been missing since November. Deputies said the manner of death has been determined as homicide, but the cause of death has not yet been determined.

Wachter's son, 28-year-old Jesse Jordan, and Jordan's girlfriend, 28-year-old Jessica Thigpen, were arrested on drug charges after being found taking items from the home, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said they went to 181 North Lake Drive in Leesburg, located in the Mid-Florida Lakes retirement community, late Saturday night after a neighbor said someone was loading items from the home into a trailer.  The neighbor told deputies that the homeowner, Wachter, hasn't been seen for weeks.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies stopped a vehicle, later determined to be Wachter's truck, and found that the trailer it was pulling contained Wachter's motorcycle, his golf cart and appliances, officials said.

Jordan and Thigpen were in the truck and were arrested on drug charges.  Jordan returned to court Monday to face a judge on charges of driving with a suspended license.

A further investigation ensued, and a cadaver dog found human remains at the house, deputies said.  The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

Detectives said mulch was used to cover the spot where Wachter was buried and that suspects who buried him purchased several bags of cypress mulch, likely from a Home Depot store.

Anyone with information concerning this case is being asked to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Office or Central Florida CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS. 

Stay with Local 6 and ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.

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