The identity of the man whose remains were found Saturday in the Ocala Ridge subdivision has been released.
Officials from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 63-year-old Melvin Bea Thompkins. He has a lengthy criminal history in Marion County and his death is being investigated as “suspicious.” Sheriff’s detectives are asking for anyone with information to contact Detective Travis O’Cull at 352-369-6805 or call Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 353-368-STOP (7867).
Thompkins’ remains were found about 2 p.m. on Saturday in the 5300 block of NW 17th Street, which is in the Ocala Ridge subdivision. Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives, forensic technicians and the Medical Examiner responded and are continuing their investigation.
Thompkins was no stranger to the legal system, having spent a little more than a year in a Florida state prison, from Nov. 4, 2015 to Nov. 19, 2016. He originally had been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of charges of possession and sale of cocaine but he already had served eight months in the Marion County Jail. And he was ordered to pay court costs of $749, records show.
All told, Thompkins was held in the Marion County Jail four times. Those include:
- March 11, 2015: Charged with possession of cocaine, sale of cocaine and possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute within 100 feet of a place of worship. In addition, his bail bondsman removed his bond on earlier charges of possession of cocaine and destroying or tampering with evidence.
- March 5, 2015: Charged with possession of cocaine and destroying or tampering with evidence.
- May 9, 2014: Charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond also was retracted on earlier charges of possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams and possession of cocaine charge.
- April 22, 2014: Charged with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams.
On Sept. 9, Melvin posted a new photograph of himself on his Facebook page with a caption that read: “This is the new and improved me.” Another man also identified as Melvin Thompkins, of Madison, responded with: “Looking good Dad.”
Thompkins’s Facebook also includes a religious meme that reads: “If you ain’t ashamed of the holy Ghost and you know God woke you up this morning, say amen and share this!” And another meme asked for hugs and suggests his friends share the post.
On Aug. 14, which was 12 days before his 63rd birthday, Thompkins asked that his friends contribute to a fundraiser called “Everytown for Gun Safety.” The posting shows that just $5 of the $200 goal was achieved.
The announcement of Thompkins’ remains being found on the Marion County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page also drew several comments and 58 shares. Among those comments were:
- Jennifer Marcum: “Thoughts and prayers to the family.”
- Ann Calhoun: “Prayers of comfort for the family.”
- Robbin Grenier: “So very sad. Now he may rest and his family can get some closure.”