Mud Lake Road, Alturas

The body of Joseph Wayne Witherington, 21, of Lakeland, was found this morning in an orange grove off Mud Lake Road in Alturas by grove caretakers, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports. Murder is suspected.

“Preliminary investigation reveals that Witherington was killed and left in the grove by an unknown suspect or suspects,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. His body was found at 7:45 a.m. The nearest cross street is 80 Foot Road.

The brief news release contained no information about wounds or the state of the body. The only photo being released shows a sheriff’s cruiser far down Mud Lake Road.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers, 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).

Start the WFLA video to see what the scene looked like from above:

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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