Skeletal remains of eight people were found in southwest Florida woods, and investigators believe the bodies have been there for several years, police said.

The skeletons, which had no skin or clothing, were found Friday in an unlit wooded area about 25 feet from an unpaved section of an east Fort Myers street, Fort Myers police Lt. Brian Phillips said.

Investigators were working to identify the bodies and were handling the deaths as homicides unless they find evidence to the contrary, police said. No trauma was evident, Phillips said.

An ecologist who was surveying a 10-acre lot for a developer discovered the bodies, police spokeswoman Shelly Flynn said. At first, police thought there were three skeletons, but a search turned up five more within a 50-yard radius, detectives said.

Police estimate the bodies have been in the woods for several years, but it was not yet known how they got there.

Technicians from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement collected physical evidence Friday, Flynn said. The skeletons will be taken to the medical examiner's office, where pathologists will try to determine a cause of death.