St. Petersburg police want the public’s help untangling the story behind the homicide of a Key West woman.
Christie New, 43, who divided her time between Key West and Morganton, N.C., died March 7 after being found six days earlier in a park by a maintenance worker who heard her moaning, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
She suffered “severe trauma,” police investigators said, declining to give details. Police haven’t given a cause of death.
“We can’t say whether or not it’s a beating,” said Samantha Williams, a spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg Police Department. “I can’t say one way or another.”
Asked if it could have been a gunshot wound, Williams said, “It’s a possibility. Any form of trauma at this point is a possibility.”
New, a native of Chambersburg, Pa., left a daughter, Hunter, 9.
New was discovered about 11:30 a.m. March 1 in Lake Maggiore Park with life-threatening injuries, police said. She was taken to a hospital, where she remained in critical condition until she died.
Police don’t know why New was in St. Petersburg and neither does her sister, who told FOX 13 news that New was on a road trip from Key West to Ocala, where her horse trainer lives, and then planned to drive to the bay area.
New’s sister told the local press that New had met a male acquaintance on her way to Ocala but the sister didn’t know him.
Police said New was seen Feb. 28 in the area around 54th Avenue North and Haines Road, which is about eight miles away from the park where she was found, the Times reported.
New was known for her vivacious spirit and her passion for horse-riding, a sport she competed in nationally, and her love for all animals.
“She would come into the shelter routinely,” said Tammy Fox, executive director of the Florida Keys SPCA. “Sometimes, her daughter would read to the cats. She was always interested in dogs and wanting to help any way she could.”
Jeanne Selander, who runs the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm, said of New: “She had a beautiful soul and a heart of gold — one of a kind.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call St. Petersburg police at (727) 893-7780 or text “SPPD” and an anonymous tip to TIP-411, referring to case No. 2018-009175.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen