Remains found near church identified as man missing since last year

Manatee County investigators say a man who went missing almost a year ago was murdered.

Human remains found in Palmetto last fall have been identified as Jeremey Joyner and officials are now hunting for his killer.

"My heart is just broken, it's just torn in two," said Leverne Joyner. "I can't tell you how I feel; I am hurt, I am so hurt, he was my baby!"

She says there's a hole in her soul after getting the news her son was killed.

"I was still holding onto those little threads of hope," said Leverne.

The 36-year-old Bradenton man was reported missing by loved ones last May.

"I was told that he left the house about 8 that night and said he'd be gone for about 20-minutes, and that's the last anybody ever saw of him," Jeremey's Father, Dale Joyner Sr. said.

Three weeks later, Jeremey's car was found ditched near a local church. His family says the doors were unlocked and Jeremey's things were inside.

At the time, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said there was no evidence of foul play, but called the disappearance suspicious.

"I knew Jeremey would not have gone off and just not told me, not contacted me," said Leverne.

"We kinda came to grips with he's probably gone," Dale said. "But we still had hope until this morning when they gave us the news."

Detectives contacted the Joyner's Monday to let them know human remains discovered in a Palmetto field back in October were identified as Jeremey. Investigators say the FDLE confirmed it through DNA.

"It's not the news that they wanted to hear, it's not the news that we wanted to give them because this is now a homicide investigation," said Randy Warren with the Sheriff's Office. "We had evidence at the scene, the condition of the bones that were found, leads us to believe this is homicidal."

For loved ones, they won't fully have closure until the person responsible is brought to justice.

"For such a young guy, energetic guy and a loving guy, caring guy, it's like he deserved better," said Dale.

The sheriff's office and the Gold Star Club of Manatee County are offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of whoever killed Jeremey. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers.