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Lakewood Ranch teacher found dead in Parrish

Justin Darr, 39, had been missing for a week when he was found near his Parrish home.

  • By Jay Heater
  • | 2:30 p.m. January 16, 2023
  • | Updated 1:14 p.m. January 17, 2023
  • East County
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1:15 p.m. Jan. 17

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office issued an update to this story on Jan. 17.

The release said in the case of Lakewood Ranch teacher Justin Darr's death, “Detectives observed no obvious signs of trauma at the scene and the medical examiner completed an autopsy (Jan. 16), finding no signs of homicidal violence. Pending toxicology results, cause of death is still unknown.”

2:30 p.m. Jan 16

Manatee County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating the death of a 39-year-old Parrish man who was found dead Sunday morning not far from his Cottage Hill Avenue home.

Justin Darr was a physical education teacher at Gilbert W. McNeal Elementary School in Lakewood Ranch. A Sheriff's Office release said the cause of death is unknown.

Justin Darr
Courtesy photo

He was last seen a week ago. On Jan. 10, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office issued a "missing endangered adult" alert for Darr. 

That release stated: "Justin Darr, 39, has not been in contact with his family for several days, and they fear he could be in some type of trouble. Justin's residence ... was found unoccupied and his pets had not been cared for in some time. His vehicle was also there. Family members say it is extremely out of character for him to disappear."

Anyone with information should call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 747-3011.



Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.

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