Murder of Mike WilliamsJerry Michael "Mike" Williams (October 16, 1969 – December 16, 2000) was an American man. Williams was initially presumed to have drowned on a 2000 hunting trip to Lake Seminole, a large reservoir straddling the Georgia-Florida state line; His mother always suspected he had been the victim of foul play, possibly at another location. His body was found in October 2017 near Tallahassee, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) officials confirmed he was a victim of homicide.
After Williams' boat was found abandoned on the lake, the initial theory was that he had fallen out of it after a collision while duck hunting. However, a lengthy and exhaustive search of the lake bed in the area failed to find his body: at that time, it was the only known occasion when no remains or body had been discovered after a drowning death in the lake. It was eventually concluded that his body had been eaten by alligators. After waders and a jacket containing Williams's hunting license were found in the lake six months later, he was declared legally dead, following a court petition by his widow, Denise. She went on to marry Brian Winchester, a mutual friend who had helped her take out a large life insurance policy on Williams shortly before his disappearance.
Some investigators felt aspects of the case were not consistent with the alligator theory. After years of pressure from Williams's mother, Cheryl, the case was reopened in 2004 by the FDLE. By then, officers had learned that alligators do not, in fact, eat during the winter months, as the water is too cold, and as such, it was suspected that foul play might have occurred. But it did not produce any new evidence, as the potential crime scene had not been secured during the search for Williams.
Cheryl Williams wrote letters daily to the governor, asking him to have the state reopen the investigation even though two later investigations were likewise unable to uncover any significant new information, alienating many of the law enforcement officials she had previously persuaded to reopen it. The Investigation Discovery channel series ''Disappeared'' devoted an episode to the case in 2012. In 2016, Winchester was arrested on charges stemming from an incident where he allegedly kidnapped Denise, the missing man's widow, who was now divorcing him; he was sentenced to 20 years in prison on the day before the FDLE announced that Williams's body had been found. In May 2018, Denise Williams was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and accessory. She was found guilty that December, after Winchester testified to shooting Michael at Denise's behest when their original plan to stage a boating accident failed, and was sentenced to life in prison in January of 2019. In 2020, a Florida appellate court overturned her murder conviction but upheld her murder conspiracy conviction, for which she will serve 30 years. Provided by Wikipedia