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Hotel worker thinks she knows victim found in woods

Posted at 1:02 PM, Apr 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-17 18:40:59-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- A death investigation is underway after two men cutting grass stumbled upon a body on private property behind a Petersburg hotel Thursday morning.

S. Crater Road Body CollageCBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil, who was the first reporter on the scene, noted a large police presence in the 120 block of South Carter Road behind the Knight’s Inn.

“You think about it, it stays on your mind,” said Jimmy Davis of HE & Company."

Davis said that he and his coworker, who was using a weed eater, told him that he thought he saw a body in the woods.

“I walked over and looked at it," Davis said. "You could tell it was a body lying in the woods, so I called police and 911.”

Petersburg police roped off the area near the woods and hotel with crime scene tape.

“It doesn’t appear to be badly decomposed. It appears to be a female,” Petersburg police spokesperson Esther Hyatt said.

Patrice Rice, along with others who live in the area, are worried about crime since only two weeks ago a man was found shot on the second floor balcony at the Knights Inn.

“I’m very concerned, because my son is out here at night… at it’s dangerous,” Rice said.

People who work at the nearby hotel think the victim is a woman they befriended about a week ago.

Alice Patterson, who works at the Knights Inn, believes the woman came into the hotel last week on a cold night.

“She had got evicted from her place. I let her stay in the lobby for like five or six hours,” Patterson said.

For a brief time, Patterson said those who stayed at the hotel got to know the woman.

“She was very sweet, very caring and loved her dog very much.”

However, the woman’s dog was found tied to a fence behind the hotel a week ago. The cart that she pushed was also discovered in the parking lot behind the hotel.

Both the fence and the parking lot are less than a hundred feet from where the woman’s body was discovered.

Stick with CBS 6 News and for updates on this developing story.