On April 15, 2009, Lakeland Police were called to 600 East Main Street, Lakeland, after the remains of an adult female were found on AmTrak Train property. It was determined the woman, identified as Shawn Hazel Turk, age 34, had died of asphyxia.
The investigation indicated that Shawn had only been in Lakeland for approximately one day before being violently killed. Shawn had traveled to Lakeland from South Carolina with her boyfriend, a long distance truck driver. Shawn and her boyfriend were involved in a domestic related altercation while in Lakeland and he put her out of his truck and left town.
Shawn was stranded. The investigation indicates that she utilized pay phones in the downtown area at a 24 hour food mart and the bus station in an attempt to contact relatives for assistance. The last phone call made by Shawn was at 11:00 pm on April 9th at the Greyhound Bus Station, 303 N Massachusetts Ave (next door to the Lakeland Police Department). Investigators believe that Shawn had already met Reginald Riggins (DOB: 10/8/77) and that he was standing with her at the time she made her last call from the bus station. One reason that Shawn may not have attempted to contact police for assistance is because she believed she had an outstanding warrant. Another reason is because Shawn also had a substance abuse issue.
Investigators believe that Riggins met Shawn at the bus station and offered her crack cocaine in exchange for sex. This was a random meeting and neither knew each other before this time. The two of them walked down to Lake Mirror and smoked crack cocaine, then walked over the train station. At this time it is believed that Shawn refused to have sex with Riggins. Riggins became enraged, attacked Shawn, and killed her.
In July, 2011, Detective Brad Grice received a tip that led police to Reginald Riggins. Riggins was a suspect of another homicide that occurred in Fort Myers, Florida. Detective Grice was able to develop this lead causing LPD Detectives to travel to St. Petersburg, Florida. Once there, Lakeland Police worked with other agencies to facilitate the apprehension of Riggins. The homicide in Fort Myers, as well as the homicide of Shawn Hazel Turk in Lakeland, has been brought to their proper conclusion because of the multi-agency cooperation and assistance in working these cases.
Yesterday, 8/11/2011, the Grand Jury indicted Reginald Riggins for the murder of Shawn Hazel Turk. Riggins will now stand trial for two homicides.