Handless body found below deck; Dog apparently chewed it off

A man’s badly decomposed body was found aboard a sailboat moored off Key West near Wisteria Island Thursday morning.

A syringe containing a “liquid substance” was found near the 39-year-old man, who the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office had not identified at press time Thursday afternoon.

The man’s hand was also severed and found on the deck of the vessel.

“It appears from bite marks on the hand the dog may have pulled the hand off of the body after the man died,” said Deputy Becky Herrin, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

A nearby live-aboard boater called the U.S. Coast Guard to report the body after the dog on the dead man’s vessel wouldn’t stop barking. He boarded the boat to check on the dog and saw the hand on the deck. He took the one-and-a-half year old pit bull, left the boat and called the Coast Guard.

The dead man was last seen alive Saturday, Herrin said.

Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives are investigating the case. The Medical Examiner has the body and will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.