For New Documents Released This Morning, See Post Below This One
News surfaced on Wednesday that the wooded lot where Caylee Marie Anthony’s skeletal remains were found is up for sale. It was put on the market this week at the ridiculously inflated asking price of $89,900. Both the prosecution and defense teams performed highly sophisticated and very thorough forensics work on that property and I decided to do some investigative digging of my own. Who owns it and what is it really worth?
I will say upfront that none of the media outlets have been able to confirm the actual identity of the property owner, just that his name is Thomas Hendricks and he has a Winter Park, Florida P.O. Box address. In other words, there is no physical address linking one particular Thomas Hendricks to the piece of land. If you Google the name, you’ll find lots of listings. How does one go about isolating this one person out of the many that share the same name? In the following paragraphs, I will explain what I found out, who he is and where to find him; right down to his FCC amateur radio call letters.
First of all, this is not the order in which I made my discovery. It just makes more sense to explain it this way and besides, I do not wish to give away all of my tricks of the trade. Secondly, I found all of the information on the Internet. Let’s take a look at some documents…
(All images may be clicked on to enlarge)
Here is a copy of the defense team’s motion to inspect the crime scene, filed by Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez. This was requested after the state’s team of experts had meticulously combed through the area.
If you read through the document, you will see that Jose Baez had a tough time locating Thomas Hendricks, too. Next, I took a look at the property from public records available at the Orange County government website. From this site I was able to reference the property’s parcel number:
If you have sharp eyes and a mind to go along with it, you’ll also notice that Mr. Hendricks owns the land on the north side of Suburban Drive, right across the street from where Caylee’s memorial shrine is. To be more precise, he owns 25 properties in Orange County alone. One of the things I found out while searching through media websites is that he is, indeed, a very difficult person to track down. No one could find him and his only address is P.O. Box 4602, Winter Park, Florida 32793. That is not all. Here is a property he owns in Bucks County, PA, and it gives as his contact information the same Winter Park address. This guy moves around. Coincidentally, Bucks County is right across the Delaware River from Hunterdon County, NJ, where I grew up.
You’ll notice I highlighted the information in gray. From there, I begin to get down to the nitty gritty. I was hoping that by digging deeper into this land’s property tax information, it would yield more than a post office box. I was hoping for a real address of some kind, plus an idea of what the property is worth.
Along the way, I did find something of interest. Having been to that area several times, I couldn’t see that particular tract as being worth much. The property’s code description has it classified as vacant home owners association (019). It’s not very large and I don’t think it could be developed for anything, like putting up a house. As a matter of fact, in my research, I discovered it’s not worth much at all, according to the amount of taxes Mr. Hendricks paid on it in 2008.
OK, so the property is only appraised at a mere $100. Sure, and up until Caylee’s body was found, that’s all it was probably worth. You’ve probably heard of those schemes to sell Florida land and when you finally get the chance to visit your new homestead, it’s a swamp. This is almost the same thing and until history changed it, that’s all it would probably ever be worth. Remember, after T.S. Fay came through in August, this land was under water for months and it confounded all search efforts until Roy Kronk came along on December 11. Now, you can second-guess all you want about the property’s value today and be my guest, but is it really worth almost 90 grand or is the owner greedy? What would a potential buyer do with it but keep it as a shrine and charge admission? How can anyone justify that price? For that reason and that reason alone, I am going to share the name, address and phone number of the owner for being nothing more than a money hungry bottom feeder off this Caylee Anthony affair. Sure, Tom, join the bandwagon. Me? I’m going back to work to find you.
I had the name of Thomas Hendricks and a box number. I looked up his name on a website I utilize for this sort of purpose. I find it very revealing at times and no, you can’t have it. There are certain secrets I must keep. Along with his name, I put a Winter Park location, just the name of the city. Now, I had no idea whether he lived in Winter Park or not, but I figured I had to start somewhere. Of course, in Central Florida alone, more than one Thomas Hendricks appeared. One of the things that caught my eye was that one of them is a ham radio operator with the call sign, N4HTH. Hmm, another coincidence is that one of my grandfathers was a ham operator and he worked for years for a company called Hendrick’s Appliances as a repairman in Stockton, NJ, directly across the river from Bucks County. Interesting, I thought, but unrelated. Here is what I found:
Alright, so none of this information is private property. This list of names came off of a website that anyone can find and research, but right there, in living RGB color and B&W, was one particular guy with the same name who lives in Winter Park. Had I hit the mother lode? Fat chance, I thought, because there was nothing linking that physical address to the post office box number any more than any other Thomas Hendricks would link to it and I really had no idea what state he even lived in. I could be looking for hours, I thought, but in cases like this, I like to write things down. By the way, there’s a clue in that directory somewhere.
After extensive work, searching through records, I still had a few more ideas up my sleeve. The next one I tried struck gold and I got myself a positive match. Where everyone else seemed to have failed, doing my homework paid off.
Look carefully at the Quit Claim Deed below. Do you see his name there, near the top? Underneath it, you’ll see Post Office Box 4602, the numbers that stuck in my head, but keep scrolling down, because this is where this particular piece of public property yielded the biggest clue and an on the mark ID. Some might say it’s right on the money.
There. See it? In the middle of the deed is the name of his wife and it matches the name of his Successor Trustee, Faye M., on the White Pages Winter Park address. The mystery is solved. I lucked out, but I have always had a pretty good nose for scoping out information and knowing how to manipulate key search terms helped tremendously.
Under normal circumstances, I would not disclose private information, but at the same time, the asking price of this land is so grossly out of touch with reality, it unnerved me. Ouch! He paid $1.64 in taxes in 2008 on a piece of land he now claims is worth $89,900. That is terrible and it is a sure sign, in my opinion, of someone trying to get richer off this dead girl. Remember, everything I found was available on-line. To those of you not all that familiar with Florida’s open-government laws, also known as the Sunshine Law, you just saw it in action. To Mr. Hendricks: I know you have to go with the flow, right? Take the money and run. Please remember one thing – I didn’t try to peddle this story to the highest bidder because everything I found was free for the taking. No bones about it. I hope I rattled a few.
The land where Caylee Anthony’s remains were found is for sale. Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla said he wants to buy the property. (RED HUBER, ORLANDO SENTINEL / March 20, 2009)
Leonard Padilla offered $50,000 for the land to keep as a permanent memorial.
©2009 David B. Knechel. All rights Reserved.
see next post (below) for updated transcripts 3/20/09