Holmes Beach Police and West Manatee Fire Rescue responded to a 911 call from Milton Simmons, who had discovered a body by the edge of the water at the 650 block of Key Royale Drive where he was checking stone crab traps.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives and a medical examiner later identified the body as Dustin Benson, 19, of Palm Harbor (north of St. Petersburg).
Benson was last seen drinking and fishing on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Dec 29. Friends reported they saw him arguing on a cellphone, and subsequently saw him on the northbound side of the bridge two-thirds up the center span. They then observed Benson jump from the bridge.
The US Coast Guard and Sheriff’s Office searched the water soon after but did not find Benson. Between Saturday, Dec 29th and Wednesday, Jan 2, Benson drifted 7 miles across Tampa Bay between the Skyway Bridge and Anna Maria Island.