The Role of Law Enforcement
The best first step when you encounter human remains or when you believe a human burial is being disturbed is to contact a law enforcement officer. Under the provisions of Chapter 872 concerning unmarked human remains, "any person who knows or has reason to know that an unmarked human burial is being unlawfully disturbed, destroyed, defaced, mutilated, removed, excavated, or exposed shall immediately notify the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the area where the unmarked human burial is located." In fact, failure to notify the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction is a second degree misdemeanor with substantial penalties.
If you don't know what law enforcement agency has direct jurisdiction, call the local sheriff's office in your county and tell them what you know. Explain that you are reporting possible disturbance of human remains under Florida Statute 872, and direct them to this web page.
Current law enforcement contact information is maintained on the web by the Florida Attorney General at http://myfloridalegal.com/CitizenSafety under the heading Florida Citizen Safety Center. Through this page you should be able to find the phone numbers for all county sheriff's departments and major municipal police departments. Typically, police departments have jurisdiction within cities and towns, while the local sheriff has jurisdiction in the rest of the county. In the case of public land such as a state or federal park, forest, or reserve, you can contact the managing agency, or simply call the sheriff who will be able to direct you to the appropriate person. If you are not clear about who to call, try the sheriff first.
If the Attorney General page is not helpful, you can get a list of sheriffs through the Florida sheriffs Association at http://www.flsheriffs.org. Their list of sheriffs' phone, fax and address information is at http://www.flsheriffs.org/sheriffslist.pdf. If that doesn't work, look in the front of your phone book or under county offices. The most important thing is to notify a law enforcement agency immediately. When you call law enforcement, be prepared to be clear about what you have seen or heard and about the exact location of possible human remains. It is often difficult to describe a location clearly over the phone, so you might be able to make use of maps or address directions on the internet to be more precise. Some web sites that may be helpful for locations with addresses or locations near roads are:
Some web sites that show aerial photographs, useful for more rural or undeveloped areas, are:
USGS Maps and Aerial Photos Online http://geography.usgs.gov/partners/viewonline.html
Maptech online maps, charts and aerial photoshttp://mapserver.maptech.com/homepage