The femur bone found by a dog at a construction site may belong to 41-year-old Joel Patrick Smith of 1523 Grand Isle Dr. in Brandon, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Smith was reported missing in November 2011.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, a resident walking a dog discovered what was later identified as a human femur bone at a site being developed for townhomes off Providence Lakes Boulevard, south of Lumsden Road.
Since then, the Hillsborough County Maintenance Department has been systematically removing dirt, allowing the sheriff's office, with the help of the University of South Florida Anthropology Department, to recover more bones. Sheriff's deputies have spent more than 1,000 hours combing through 372 cubic yards of dirt. They've discovered nine bones so far.
In addition, the sheriff's office discovered a tennis shoe and a cell phone belonging to Smith. Yesterday, deputies notified Smith's family of the discovery. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct DNA tests to official confirm his identity.