Victim’s body was found behind an abandoned watermelon packing plant in a remote area of Marianna.
By Zack McDonald | Panama City News Herald
MARIANNA — After discovering the body of a pregnant mother had been dumped behind an abandoned packing house, authorities are searching for a suspect, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO).
The body of 25-year-old Kaycha Smith of Marianna was found Thursday morning behind an abandoned watermelon packing plant in the 5000 block of Old U.S. Road, a remote area north of Marianna. JCSO said they did not initially know the identity of the woman but suspected foul play led to her death. Smith was later identified, and investigators began searching for her car, a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Daimeyon Dontrell O’Neal, officers reported.
“During the course of the investigation it was learned that the victim and O’Neal … recently had a relationship,” officers wrote, “and witnesses stated there had also been recent domestic issues with their relationship.”
O’Neal met and spoke Thursday night with investigators with the Chipley Police Department. He was not taken into custody, and investigators are continuing to interview witnesses.
JCSO reported finding Smith’s car early Friday morning at Wynn Street Park, dozens of miles away from where her body was dumped. The vehicle was towed to JCSO headquarters to be processed for evidence.
Officials said Smith’s body had not been behind the packing house for long, possibly Wednesday night at the earliest. As word spread, friends of Smith reached out to express condolences for the pregnant mother of one.
The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 850-482-9648. Anonymous tips can be made to CrimeStoppers at 850-526-5000.