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Body found off Old Burnt Store Road

By Staff | Nov 3, 2011

Police suspect a body found off Burnt Store Road may be the remains of a missing Cape Coral grandfather.

Cape Coral Police were conducting area searches and canvassing the neighborhoods off of Old Burnt Store Road Thursday night regarding the disappearance of James Arthur, 80.

An officer spoke with a person who was out for a exercise walk near the 200 Block of Old Burnt Store Road at 7 p.m. The officer asked the person if they had any information regarding the disappearance. The person said they had noticed a strong odor in the area recently.

Officers then began searching on foot and discovered a deceased male approximately 80 yards off of the roadway in the 200 Block of Old Burnt Store Road.

The remains were clothed consistent with garments worn by James Arthur the day he was reported missing, officials said, adding they believe the body is his.

Positive identification still is pending

Detectives will be processing the scene for several hours and will be working with the Lee County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine a cause of death, police said.

The Arthur family has been notified of the discovery and has asked for privacy.

Meanwhile, CCPD detectives are in Chicago interviewing Garrett Kern, Authur’s grandson, who police say is a person of interest in his grandfather’s disappearance.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force apprehended Kern, 24, of 3519 S.W. 29th Ave., at about 1 p.m. A warrant had been issued for Kern on the charges of grand theft auto.

“He was found in a mission, like a shelter,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police, said. “We had information that he was there.”

Kern had been added to Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers’ 10 Most Wanted list as officials sought information concerning his grandfather’s whereabouts.

Arthur, also of 3519 S.W. 29th Ave., was last seen Oct. 27 leaving the probation office in downtown Fort Myers with his grandson. He had driven Kern to a probation appointment that Kern had that morning.

According to police, Kern was seen later that afternoon at the BA Hustlers Pool Hall on Santa Barbara Boulevard, South. He was driving his grandfather’s car but Arthur was not with him.

While at the Cape pool hall, Kern reportedly made statements to people that gave rise to concern for the welfare of his grandfather.

Kern then fled the area with his grandfather’s Volvo, officials reported.