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Body Of Missing Tampa Teen Found

Apr 7, 2017

The body of a 17-year-old Tampa girl who was missing since March 28 was found in Flatwoods Wilderness Park Friday morning.

Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward said a cause of death for Hailey Acierno needs to be determined, but it's believed that she committed suicide.

Acierno's body was found by bicycle officers in a heavily wooded area just off a trail in the park, about two miles from her home.

"She wasn't found in an area that's common for pedestrian traffic. She was embedded into the wood area, approximately two miles," Ward said at a Friday news conference in the park. "There was nothing out of the ordinary about the area that would stand out."

Dozens of local law enforcement officers searched Flatwoods Wilderness Park Thursday before returning Friday morning. Acierno's body was found by Tampa Police bicycle officers a little after 8 a.m.
Credit Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Ward said it's possible searchers had been through the area earlier, but didn't find her due to the thick foliage. Family members said the Wharton High School junior was known to visit Flatwoods.

Dozens of members of the Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission searched the park on Thursday before returning Friday morning.

Acierno was last seen 10 days ago. Family members expressed concern because she needed medication for bipolar disorder. An autopsy will be conducted to determine how and when she died.