Search continues in backyard where human remains found

James Maxwell jailed on child abduction, rape charges

Published On: Jun 19 2012 09:54:03 AM EDT   Updated On: Jun 20 2012 05:52:57 PM EDT
PORT ORANGE, Fla. -

Port Orange police are continuing their search on Wednesday of the home of a child rape suspect after finding a body buried in his backyard.

Police began investigating the home of located on Brandy Hill Drive, last week. James Maxwell, 44, who had lived in the house, has been named a homicide suspect, officials said.

The home will be turned over to the homeowner, Maxwell's girlfriend,  later Wednesday, police said.  Maxwell lived at the house off and on since the 1980s, and most recently lived there with his girlfriend, her two children, the baby they share, and his teenage son, said neighbors.

Officials said Maxwell refused to allow construction crews to dig in the backyard to fix a plumbing problem, triggering the search.

Maxwell has been jailed on no bond after he was accused of abducting a 9-year-old Port Orange girl, raping her in the woods, and dropping her off at the Port Orange Police Department in December 2011.

Police said two tipsters triggered the investigation after Maxwell refused to allow construction crews to dig in the backyard to fix a plumbing problem.

"He was just a really creepy guy. Wouldn't talk a lot, just kind of stared and just the sixth sense being a mother, I think it's just what really got me. Just made me very nervous," said Carrie Lasky, who lives nearby. "Something is keeping them in that house or in that area of that property. So they know more than what they're telling the public -- which is pretty nerve-wracking for us that are waiting to see."

Police plan another day of searching and will execute a search warrant for inside the home Wednesday. Police do not believe any additional bodies are buried in the yard, but admitted its too soon to be certain.

Police said the body found buried in the backyard is that of an adult, but it has been badly decomposed and an autopsy scheduled for Wednesday should provide more clues into the death.

Positive identification of the body could take a month through DNA testing. However, police said they know who the person was and how they died, but refused to explain how they knew those details.