Slain berry buyer remembered by friend, business partner

Homicide investigation continues in Palm Bay

By James Sparvero - Reporter

PALM BAY, Fla. - Saw palmetto berry harvester Amy Cory is grieving the loss of a longtime friend and business partner.

Palm Bay police said Casey Cheney was buying berries when he was murdered Monday in his trailer off Babcock Street.

"It's not worth it to take someone's life," Cory said. "Me and my son just saw him the other day. We've known him for years."

Cory comes from a family of berry pickers. They sell them to middlemen like Cheney, who sell them to distributors. Cory said people in Cheney's line of the business carry lots of cash.

Police did not say how Cheney died, but investigators have said nothing is being ruled out.

Saw palmetto berry picking laws changed in July. Pickers now have to be permitted.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office has made multiple arrests this summer for illegal picking.

"The price has gone up this year, I think because of the fact that there is a permit. There may not be as many for sale as there was in the past," Brevard County Sheriff's Office public information officer Tod Goodyear said.

Saw palmetto berries are known for their medicinal purposes for prostate health.

Cory says each year during growing season, Cheney, who is from southwest Florida, could be found working out of his trailer in Palm Bay. He was a husband and a father.

"He just really all around was a good-hearted man. Me and my family's hearts and prayers go out to all of them," Cory said.

As the homicide investigation continues, anyone with information is asked to call the Palm Bay Police Department, or anonymous tips can also be left with Crimeline.

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