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Missing Man: Jerry Michael "Mike" Williams - FL - 12/16/2000


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#1 Jenn

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 11:42 AM

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Name: Jerry Michael Williams
Classification: Endangered Missing Adult
Alias / Nickname: Mike
Date of Birth: 1969-10-16
Date Missing: 2000-12-16
From City/State: Tallahassee, FL
Missing From (Country): USA
Age at Time of Disappearance: 31
Gender: Male
Race: White
Height: 70 inches
Weight: 170 pounds
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Complexion: Medium

Identifying Characteristics: Chicken pox scar on left cheek, previously wore braces on teeth and corrective shoes.

Clothing: Possibly wearing camouflage hunting clothes.

Jewelry: Possibly wearing a "St. Christopher" medal on a gold chain, a watch, and a wedding band on left ring finger.

Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown. Jerry, also known as Mike, was last seen leaving his residence in the vicinity of the 5000 block of Centennial Oak Cir. in Tallahassee, FL. He allegedly was going duck hunting at Lake Seminole. His boat and vehicle, described as a green and tan 1994 Ford Bronco, were later found at the lake as well.

Investigative Agency: Jackson County Sheriff's Office
Phone: (850) 482-9624
Investigative Case #: 00-121624

If you believe you have any information regarding this case that will be helpful in this investigation please contact:
Jackson County Sheriff's Office at (850) 482-9624



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#2 Jenn

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 11:43 AM

http://www.tallahass...EWS01/812150326

Eight years later, still no trace of missing hunter Mike Williams

By Jennifer Portman • DEMOCRAT SENIOR WRITER • December 15, 2008

Cheryl Williams won't do anything different Tuesday. She'll watch the babies at her home day care and wonder what happened to hers.
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Eight years ago Tuesday her 31-year-old son, Mike, vanished.

And even though one investigator remains assigned to the cold case, and cadaver-sniffing dogs have been tromping in nearby woods, any hope that the Division of Insurance Fraud could break it open is gone.

"It makes me sick in my stomach," Cheryl Williams said. "I don't actually know a whole lot more today than I did eight years ago."

The Tallahassee real-estate appraiser was first thought to have drowned in Lake Seminole early one morning while on a solo duck-hunting trip. When his body failed to float as expected, fish-and-game officials said he must have been eaten by alligators.

Despite extensive searches, no trace of his body has ever been found. Law-enforcement officials today dismiss the alligator theory: It was far too cold for gators to be feeding and, if they had, there would have been remains.

They think Williams was the victim of foul play and have suspects in mind, but they won't name them.

"There are leads that are being developed," said FDLE spokesman Mike Morrison. "We are optimistic that we will bring this case to a close."

But the Division of Insurance Fraud, which took a fresh look at the case in February, has closed its Williams file.

"Our job was extremely difficult, and we were simply unable to develop enough evidence to proceed with the investigation," said Mark Schlein, senior attorney with the division.

Williams had life-insurance policies with two companies when he disappeared, and his wife, investigators said, collected at least $2 million.

Williams' best friend, insurance agent Brian Winchester, wrote him a $1 million policy about six months before he disappeared, investigators said. In 2005 Winchester married Denise Williams, whom he has known since preschool.

The two have declined to comment, saying in previous e-mails that they loved Williams and asking that their privacy be respected.

"At the very least, we wanted to bring some closure.... That is not the case," said a frustrated Schlein. "If there is new information that comes to light, a case can be reopened. We have suspicions, but what we need is evidence."

Morrison declined to elaborate on what leads FDLE is exploring, saying that the case is active and ongoing. Williams was included in this year's edition of the department's cold-case playing cards, which are distributed among convicts in an effort to generate tips.

Kentucky-based forensic psychological profiler Carrie Cox said she provided information to FDLE this fall that Williams' remains could be in a rural area of Wakulla County. She provided map coordinates that correlated to an area near a boat ramp.

While a search with cadaver dogs did not turn up any hard physical evidence, Cox said, "There was some validating stuff to say that we are moving in the right direction.... I think something is there."

Morrison confirmed that FDLE, which assumed the lead role in the case this year, has no physical evidence in its custody. Williams' disappearance was not considered suspicious at first and his boat, Ford Bronco and other items found at the lakeshore in Jackson County were returned to his former in-laws and friends.

Williams was declared dead at the request of his former wife six months after he disappeared.

It took Cheryl Williams three years to get the attention of law enforcement and persuaded them to look into the case, but its initial handling and lack of hard evidence has hamstrung investigators and left her with few answers.

"I still hold out hope that child is alive," she said, "but everyone thinks he's dead."



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#3 Jenn

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:41 AM

Charley Project profile for Jerry: http://www.charleypr...iams_jerry.html
Jennifer, Project Jason Forum Moderator
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#4 Lori Davis

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 06:11 PM

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The search continues

12/18/2010

While Williams was first believed to have fallen from his boat and been eaten by alligators in a stump-filled cove of the Jackson County lake, investigators today consider him a suspicious missing person.

A decade later, his case, now assigned to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's homicide and violent crimes unit, continues to consume his family and vex law enforcement officials.

FDLE officials say they continue to actively work Williams' case, following new leads and taking a fresh look at old information.

"We aren't going away," said Special Agent in Charge Don Ladner in an interview last week. "Our goal is to find out what happened, and, if we can, to find Mike."

Hard work, not 'ah-ha's'

Two FDLE investigators currently are assigned to the case. But several department agents, who know Williams' story well, are called in when needed to work tips and decipher angles. Other agencies, including Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, also remain involved.

Recently, an inter-agency team of investigators convened at FDLE headquarters in Tallahassee to discuss the case and renew efforts to solve the mystery. While such cold cases can be frustrating, Ladner said they can be cracked with patience, persistence, thoroughness and tenacity.

"We have solved cases like this as old as 26 years," he said. "The investigators assigned to this case have all those qualities."

Ladner declined to provide details about the ongoing investigation, such as the number of witnesses interviewed or possible new search locations. But he was emphatic that progress is being made. Persons of interest have been identified, but not publicly disclosed.

"We all want the 'ah-ha' moment," Ladner said. "Our job is to investigate this and find out what happened to Mike Williams, wherever that truth may lie."

'Not in that lake'

Based on the alligator theory, Mike Williams' wife petitioned the court six months after he disappeared to have him declared dead. She subsequently received life insurance payments and death benefits. In 2005, Denise Merrell Williams married the couple's longtime friend Brian Winchester. The two have said in e-mails that they continue to mourn Mike's death and have asked that their privacy be respected.

The state Division of Insurance Fraud investigated the matter, but closed its case in 2008 for lack of evidence.

As criminal investigators continue to search for answers, Mike Williams' mother, who pressed law enforcement and in 2004 finally got them to pursue the questionable circumstance of his disappearance, remains hopeful her son is alive.

"I don't know how to explain to anyone what it feels like to not know where your son is for 10 years," said Cheryl Ann Williams, who has taken out advertisements and picketed street corners seeking information about the youngest of her two boys. "I want him to be alive, but I don't know if he is or not."

Investigators have believed for some time what Williams says she knew from the early days of his disappearance: "Michael is not in that lake."

Finding closure

The years of uncertainty have taken a toll on Cheryl Williams, the widow of a Greyhound bus driver who lives in a tidy double-wide trailer on a big lot in northern Leon County and scrimped to send her kids to private school.

Her efforts to find out what happened to Mike have soured relations with her son's former in-laws and she said she has not been permitted to spend time with her now 11-year-old granddaughter. She has written politicians, anonymous donors have paid for billboards and friends have posted fliers, but she has been frustrated by a lack of communication from FDLE officials.

Ladner sympathizes with her, but said investigators can't tell her everything that is happening with the case.

"Our overall goal is to give her closure," he said.

Williams said she is happy that law enforcement officials haven't given up. She goes about her life, taking care of children at her in-home day care, tending to her pets and spending time with her eldest son and his family. But the uncertainty never wanes.

"It's always in my head, 'Where is Michael? What happened to him?' " she said last week. "All I've got on my side is God. I believe everything that is hidden will become known."

Now that 10 years have gone by, Cheryl Williams said some people tell her that she should move on and put Mike out of her mind.

For all her efforts, that is one thing she says she cannot do.

"How do you forget a child?" she said. "How do you forget your child?"


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#5 Lori Davis

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:47 PM

http://investigation...e-williams.html

Mike Williams
Missing since March 15, 2000


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31-year-old Jerry Michael Williams is a successful businessman in Tallahassee when he reportedly goes out on a solo duck-hunting trip to Lake Seminole and disappears. Searchers find his truck, his boat and his shotgun, but they can't find Mike. It is assumed he is the victim of a tragic boating accident but officials are perplexed that his body doesn't surface. Mike is the only drowning victim on the Lake who has never come up. Lake Seminole is infested with alligators, and some of the searchers begin to pass along a frightening theory of what might have happened to Mike. They tell his mother that alligators must have eaten him. But she doesn't buy that explanation. While she hopes her son is alive she begins to think he may have been the victim of murder, not misadventure.

When odd items like a pair of waders, a jacket and a hunting license with Mike's name on it, suddenly pop up on the lake six months after Mike disappears, insurance investigators begin to ask questions. Just a week after they are found, Mike's wife uses the discoveries, as evidence to back up her petition in probate court to have Mike declared legally dead. The judge grants her request, and Mike's widow receives all of Mike's assets and cashes in on life insurance worth at least one and a half million dollars. She later marries Mike's best friend, the insurance agent who sold Mike a million dollar policy just six months before he went missing.

Mike's mother lobbies law officials to investigate Mike's disappearance. It takes three and half years, but finally the Florida Department of Law Enforcement picks up the case and opens an investigation. Other agencies join in but though they find lots of grounds for suspicion of foul play they don't have much hard evidence to go on. All these years later, Mike's widow and best friend aren't talking. Most daunting of all there is no body, no trace at all of Mike. Without proof of foul play, an insurance fraud investigation sputters and dies. Yet investigators become more convinced than ever that Mike Williams is a victim of foul play and that the original story that Mike disappeared on Lake Seminole was an elaborate setup, created to distract law enforcement and his family from the truth about what really happened to him.

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#6 Lori Davis

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 05:46 AM

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Mother of missing man sends 240 letters to Scott and not a single reply

September 6, 2012

Dec. 16 will mark 12 years that Tallahassee real estate appraiser, father and son  Jerry Michael Williams disappeared without a trace the day he was to have celebrated his six wedding anniversary at the Gibson Inn in Apalachicola.

Six years ago, I was the first reporter to write extensively about his case. At first, law enforcement officials thought the 31-year-old was the victim of a drowning, a simple case of a duck hunter drug to the bottom of Lake Seminole in chest-high waders and eaten by hungry alligators.

But unlike every other drowning victim on the lake, Mike’s body never surfaced. People knew then something was wrong, though most kept quiet. Not Mike’s mother, Cheryl Ann Williams. She knew her son was not in that lake. Not just because of a a mother’s sixth sense, but because of the facts. (You can read the first story I wrote at http://on.tdo.com/UuYpyl, but, just for starters, gators typically do not feed in the winter and certainly would not consume a six-foot, 180-pound man without leaving something behind.)

If not for her tenacity, Mike’s story might have stayed submerged like so many things at the bottom of that dark, weedy lake. It took Cheryl Williams three years to convince law enforcement officials to even begin investigating her youngest son’s disappearance.

All these years later, investigators – even those now at odds with her – say she was right. Mike did not die in the lake.

They now think Mike was the victim of human foul play, they just don’t have the physical evidence to prove it. The years-long delay in the start of the criminal investigation may make it impossible for charges ever to be filed. The cold case remains open and unsolved to this day.

In recent years, Cheryl Williams has grown frustrated over what she considers a willful mishandling the case and inaction on the part of some Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials. At the start of this year, she began a one-woman letter writing campaign to Gov. Rick Scott.

Since Jan. 1, she has penned and mailed one letter a day to the governor’s office, chronicling the case, her acrimonious meetings with FDLE officials and excerpts from her copious daily journals in the early days of the case. Her request: Scott assign her son’s case to a special prosecutor or investigator outside of FDLE.

The letters – approximately 240 – were addressed directly to the governor at this Capitol office on South Monroe Street.

After receiving not a single reply from anyone in state government, Cheryl Williams set out last week to find out who, if anyone, has been receiving her letters.

On Friday afternoon, after a runaround of bureaucratic proportions, she learned the terrible truth.

Not a single letter has reached anyone in Scott’s office, she said. The Office of the Chief Inspector General informed her the letters have all been forwarded to FDLE, the very agency from which she has been seeking relief.

“They could not have hurt me more if they had punched me in the face,” Cheryl told me this week.

Cheryl said she was later told, that in fact, her heartfelt letters had been given to one of the very investigators once assigned to the case.

I contacted the governor’s office and FDLE Wednesday for comment on the situation. I have not yet heard back from Scott’s office.  FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said in an email:

“ The case remains active and FDLE continues to look for answers.  FDLE Agents have had numerous meetings with Ms. Williams and will continue to meet with her as needed.  She can contact the case agent at any time if she has questions about the case.

Letters from Ms. Williams have been forwarded to the case agent and are part of the case file.”

I would not be surprised if FDLE is irritated with Cheryl Williams. She’s been relentless in her quest to find out what happened to her son, seeking publicity from local and national media outlets, even soliciting the help of a psychic who wrote a book on the case. She has not been shy with her criticism of the agency.

But someone there – or in the governor’s office, where her letters should have been delivered – have a duty to acknowledge her correspondence.

All Cheryl Williams has ever sought is the truth about her son. Common courtesy from the leaders of this state is the least she should be afforded.

Lori Davis, Project Jason Forum Moderator
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If you have seen any of our missing persons, please call the law enforcement agency listed on the post. All missing persons are loved by someone, and their families deserve to find the answers they seek in regards to the disappearance.





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