More remains, clothing found behind missing Clermont man's home, deputies say

Deputies name wife person of interest in disappearance of man last seen in 2015

CLERMONT, Fla. – Additional remains and articles of clothing were found Saturday as investigators continued searching behind the home of a missing Clermont man last seen in 2015, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The findings came one day after the wife of 36-year-old Michael Shaver was named a person of interest in his disappearance after detectives found what they believed to be a human arm bone in the backyard of their home, deputies said.

Deputies said they made the discovery Friday under a fire pit at 9850 Sandy Pines Road in Clermont shortly after 5 p.m. while investigators were serving a search warrant at the home of Michael Shaver.

"We eventually made our way to a fire pit area in the back of the home and it had ... it was just a shoddy concrete job, poured around this fire pit, so we began focusing our efforts there, and I can tell you we found what appears to be a bone that is consistent with that of a human upper arm bone," Lt. John Herrell with the Sheriff's Office said.

Several pieces of equipment were used outside the home to dig up the area around the fire pit.

Once the remains were found, crews ended their search efforts for the day. Herrell said they would continue Saturday.

Before finding the remains, investigators said they were unable to find anything while searching at least two areas behind the home.

"Whatever we find today, if anything, that will determine our next course of action going forward," Herrell said.

Investigators used a cadaver dog from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office to search the property.

Lake County investigators said the dog is trained to detect human remains. Detectives said the dog alerted to a specific area twice.

Investigators set up tents in that area and slowly sifted through the dirt to look for any evidence or clues.

"It's possible there is something there. We just don't want to get ahead of ourselves and speculate, so we're taking it one step at a time to see what we can find out," Herrell said.

Later in the day, investigators moved their search closer to the home. A backhoe was used to dig up a fire pit and search there. It's unclear if anything was found.

Jade Roop is a neighbor. She said she saw the cadaver dog alert to something Friday morning.

"He was jumping and digging and stuff like that. I saw the cops. They all stopped him and said, 'Here boy, here,'" Roop said. "Then he sat down on that spot and (they) starting bringing a whole bunch of equipment and they started digging."

When asked what she thought investigators would find, neighbor Wilma Nicholas said, "Him."

She was watching when she said the dogs stopped right in their tracks after sniffing around the pit.

"While they were digging, all of a sudden they stopped and backed up and looked and everyone got down and looked, and then it was, 'Yes!' and high-fiving and so, he's there. He's there. I knew he was there," Nicholas said.

Other neighbors were hopeful throughout the day, but said they fear the worst.

"I don't want to speculate, but I feel sorry for the kids. Let's put it that way," neighbor Curt Ruhl said.

Authorities said in late February that a friend of Shaver had contacted law enforcement officials and said that he and Shaver's family had not seen or heard from Shaver in years.

Deputies said they performed a well-being check, and Shaver's wife said she hadn't seen him since 2015. She allowed deputies to look inside the home, but as deputies moved outside, she stopped cooperating and requested an attorney, officials said.

"I have no comment and you can reach out to my attorney," she said last month as she drove off without giving the name of her lawyer.

Shaver's wife watched as investigators searched her property Friday. She had no comment and again referred to her attorney.

Her attorney, Jeffrey Wiggs, said they are letting the Lake County Sheriff's Office conduct its investigation and they have not obstructed or interfered with the case.

Records show that Shaver was arrested on a domestic violence charge in 2014 after an incident involving his wife. The two were arguing about a home repair project and the altercation turned physical, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. Shaver's wife told deputies that he grabbed her by the arm and pushed her into a wall, leaving her with bruises on both biceps, a Sheriff's Office report said.

During the fight, either Shaver or his wife grabbed a gun and the two struggled over it, according to authorities. Deputies said Shaver had a laceration on the top of his head from where his wife hit him with the firearm.

That gun and another firearm were confiscated from the home.

The domestic violence charge was eventually dropped, records show.

Shaver's older sister, Stacie Shaver, said her family wants answers.

"He is a wonderful, caring man who would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it," she said. "His two children were his absolute world. He loved his family and we love him so very, very much. We miss him terribly. We are looking for answers."

On Friday, Stacie Shaver said she is hoping for the best.

The remains were turned over to the Medical Examiner's Office Saturday to determine an official cause of death, deputies said.

Anyone with information concerning Shaver's whereabouts is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.