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Victim Identified in Single Vehicle Crash That Baffled First Responders

Warning: The details of this report are graphic and may be disturbing for some readers.

UPDATE: 1/25/2016, 4:29 P.M. – Dr. Kyle Shaw with the District 5 Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that the victim’s head was located inside the vehicle, upon further investigation. The cause of death has been ruled decapitation but the exact means cannot be determined. There is speculation that the victim may have been partially ejected while the vehicle traveled through the tree line. At some point a branch or other mechanism may have lead to the decapitation. There are no further details to report at this time. 

BROOKSVILLE – Yesterday, we reported the grisly details of a single vehicle crash that baffled First Responders when they could not locate the deceased victim’s head.

This morning, the Florida Highway Patrol identified the victim as 56-year-old Ricky Cates Gardner of Live Oak Florida and provided a brief synopsis of how the accident occurred. According to reports, Gardner was driving a 1998 Toyota Corolla eastbound on Hayman Road, when for reasons unknown he traveled off the roadway onto the grassy shoulder. The vehicle struck a concrete culvert and continued traveling through trees and shrubs until it came to rest between a utility pole and guy-wire. RNRF has since made several request to find out how the victim was decapitated or where the victim’s head was eventually located – if indeed it has. At this time, officials have declined to comment on those details.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the cause of the crash but Gardner was not wearing a seatbelt, according to officials.

We will continue to update this story as new information develops.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

BROOKSVILLE – A gruesome discovery for First Responders this evening, after Sheriff’s Deputies located the decapitated victim of a single vehicle crash on Hayman Road.

At the time of this report, sources say the victim’s head had not been located, prompting several Deputies and Rescue Personnel to search the surrounding area. At the time of the this report, the search had yielded negative results.

The Florida Highway Patrol is on the scene, conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.

Damage to the vehicle did not appear to be catastrophic and the victim was not ejected from the vehicle.

We will bring more on this tragic story as it develops.

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  • Sorry folks….know of two head
    Decapitations in Delaware and
    Maryland. In both wrecks, drivers
    Were not wearing seatbelts
    And lost control of their vehicles
    And the vehicles traveled
    Off the roadway. Not uncommon
    For this to happen.
    My sincere condolences.

    Friday, 15 July 2016, 11:40 pm
  • What??, I agree with u, this is rediculous. Something is NOT right here

    Friday, 5 February 2016, 1:42 pm
  • I just happened to drive by this scene yesterday and the Sheriff’s Office left all of their yellow tape hanging in the trees and on the ground. Are you kidding me!!!!! Just another example of how the Sheriff operates in this county.

    Thursday, 4 February 2016, 8:28 am
  • Spring Hill talkers are already chiming in…im old skool…wtf iz rong wit u peepole? lern howe 2 spel…lol..I have never seen so many morons who can’t spell…yup…nothing like a floridah education…idiots..

    Saturday, 30 January 2016, 12:56 am
  • Teresa- This is Nan, W.C. and Martha’s daughter. Just found out today about Ricky. I am soon sorry. My prayers are with you. If there is anything I can do, I’am friends with Wanda on Facebook. Just let her know. Again, I am so sorry.

    Thursday, 28 January 2016, 4:45 pm
  • I dont understand,this is not making alot of sense,how can the deputys not be able to find a missing head for that long but then the medical examiner comes and all the sudden it was in the car the whole time,i understand the officers are not doctors but really they could not identify a f** king head in the car,man in car no head extra head in car im not a detective but that should of been pretty easy to identify without a f##king medical degree,holy crap where did we find these guys,and why are we allowing them to carry guns,what crimes can they possibly solve if they couldent figer out that the misding head was what they were looking at the whole time.my condolences to the family,

    Wednesday, 27 January 2016, 7:56 am
  • My deepest sympathies to this mans family. Some of these people commenting need to step back. If you can’t give any compassionate words to his family who are in shock and mourning their loss then you should keep your mouth shut. It’s so sad and disturbing to see grown adults insulting a man who has died and has left a wife and children behind. I’m sure if it was your family you’d expect that kind of respect

    Wednesday, 27 January 2016, 12:10 am
  • Yea, genius. Really. BTW I graduated HS with a regents diploma and 94 average.

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 6:26 pm
  • it’s LEOPARD DOESN’T CHANGE its spots. go back to skool.

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 6:22 pm
  • Then maybe your a dumbasswhitegirl!

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 5:07 pm
  • None of this makes sense to me

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 10:51 am
  • I worked with this man for the better part of 20 yrs. He was difficult at times to get along with, very opinionated, and willful but reliable. He was funny as hell, would never turn his back on a friend, and loved his children and wife the best way he knew how. The last two yrs were horrible for him as he drove away everything that anchored him in his adult life. I spent many hours talking with him and helping to see a different way.
    I love you Ricky and I will miss you, The Father has called you home and may you find that peace you so desperately sought here

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 9:21 am
  • You A** clowns with the uneducated, ignorant comments should reframe from posting on here. On top of that, you should also pull out a dictionary, so when you do post your moronic comments, people can at least understand the idiotic thing’s you have to say. I mean, “PEACE OUT” w.t.f are you even trying to say? ” NO MERCY” someone whacked him and ran off with his head? Really??? Tom, you do a great job bringing us local news, but why do you post some of these people’s comments? I understand that everyone is entitled to there own opinion’s, but these posts are not opinionated, they are just fine examples of what happens when you drop out of school and are uneducated. My condolences to you and your family Teresa. Your family are in our prayers..God bless……

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 12:44 am
  • Did anyone actually read the bold part of the article? Some of you are making such stupid remarks. The Medical Examiner confirmed that the head was indeed found inside the vehicle!!!!! SMH.

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 12:27 am
  • This story is interesting. Piece together the details.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 8:43 pm
  • Sincere condolences to you Teresa and your family for your loss of your brother.Prayerwarrior I agree with everthing you posted. Pam not to criticize however the correct term is GUY wire, not guide wire, you can Google it. I would also like to apologize for all the shameful heartless comments made by some. A human being loved by family and friends has died, Show some compassion.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 7:47 pm
  • Teresa I am so sorry for your loss, you and your family are in my families prayers.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 7:38 pm
  • Again, my heart and prayers go out to this victim and his family. I have just read the update, and it just doesn’t make sense. they found his head in the car? helloooooooo????????????? isn’t that the first place you looked?!!!!!!!! with minimal damage to the vehicle, the stories just aren’t adding up – I still feel that we the public are being with-held information, as to not cause a public scare. this is horrible, and again, my prayers to this family. and to those of you making stupid comments – shame on you

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 7:14 pm
  • Guide wire is the appropriate term. May have been partially ejected and the wire anchoring the pole may have contributed. Happened to a friend on a motorcycle a reward years ago. Horrible but instantaneous.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 6:31 pm
  • The head is most likely in the car maybe under the seat

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 6:31 pm
  • Teresa, very sorry for the loss of your brother, and unfortunately some people’s post are just idiotic. Peace and prayers for you and your family.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 5:39 pm
  • Sorry for the rude comments that’s self centered people can make… remember only God can judge someone. May this family have closure and heal from the pain of losing a loved one. Remember to hug your loved ones because in an instant they could be gone…

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 4:27 pm
  • thank you soo much, this is one of his sisters.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 3:51 pm
  • To all the people that are making this harsh and heartless comments, maybe you should think about if this was someone in your family or a loved one before saying those types of things. I’m sure if you knew this person you would feel totally different about this situation. A man lost his life for heaven sake! I swear some people need a wake up call…. But to his family and friends I am TRULY SORRY FOR YOUR TRAGIC LOSS.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 2:40 pm
  • Praying for his family. Such a terrible time in their life. My God in His gentle mercy grant them a whole lot of peace. The type of peace that only He can give.

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 12:38 pm
  • Megan was your cousin the one he assaulted ? Was he drunk … A leaped so t change its spots!

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 12:35 pm
  • Megan, there are many good people in Hernando county who sympathize with you for your loss, including myself. As for the others? Some people can’t be helped or forced to feel for others until they, themselves, suffer through hardship. It’s all part of maturing and becoming truly human. I’m personally sorry for your loss but I must admit…the only reason I’ve been following this story is because of the odd circumstances involving his death. Are you in a position to enlighten the public as it appears the local authorites will not? Was this purely accidental or not? Has the head been found? Forgive me if these questions are too personal at this time…

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 9:40 am
  • I see some pretty ridiculous comments on here. This man is my fiancés cousin and the last two years of his life had been hell. To see some of you comment things like “a ticket should teach him a lesson” is just rude and heartless he’s already paid for that mistake with his life. So if you have nothing nice to say then shut your mouth!!

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 8:07 am
  • Prayers for him and his Family and Friends

    Monday, 25 January 2016, 12:19 am
  • Maybe they need to look up in the trees just saying but i really feel for his family prayers going their way

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 10:15 pm
  • No matter what has happened to his head, or a cover up.
    Some body has lost a family member in a horrible way. My prayers for his family.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 8:47 pm
  • Perhaps the guy wire took it off, it landed outside the vehicle and was taken by a dog etc?

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 7:52 pm
  • anthony pawned it

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 7:27 pm
  • Sincere condolences to the family and friends of this man.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 7:12 pm
  • I hate to say it, but if they have not located the head, bless his heart, it could have been taken by an animal.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 6:43 pm
  • A man lost his life! The family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 6:35 pm
  • may be that someone else was in the car, wacked him for whatever reason, took his head off and ran with it.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 5:58 pm
  • @ ewww REALLY? wtf? A man lost his life. His head is missing & YOU think a freaking ticket will give him a lesson?? Did u actually READ this before commenting something SO ABSURD? OK HCSO mail the poor man a ticket for not wearing a seat belt and forward it to heaven….lets see what happens when It dont get paid…..court? smh…..

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 5:56 pm
  • Another intelligen post. Smells like a coverup.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 5:10 pm
  • Sending prayers

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 4:39 pm
  • “He wasent wearing a seatbelt”…he must of lost his mind,thats so unsafe,a ticket should teach him a lesson

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 4:32 pm
  • Always wear your seatbelt, folks! My heartfelt condolences go out to Mr. Gardner’s family and friends…

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 3:47 pm
  • It’s called a guy wire not guide wire.

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 3:33 pm
  • Maybe they have not found the head and they don’t want locals are their conducting their own head hurt!

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 3:17 pm
  • I smell a rat as well!

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 3:06 pm
  • This smells like a coverup

    Sunday, 24 January 2016, 2:45 pm

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