The body of a 21-year-old Florida woman was recovered from a pond and her co-worker, who she had a romantic relationship with, was arrested on a murder charge.
Jacksonville deputies said Sunday (6 August) that 28-year-old Lee Rodarte confessed to killing Savannah Gold during a struggle in his car on Wednesday (2 August).
Rodarte, who was a culinary manager at Bonefish Grill in Jacksonville, led police to her body in the pond, deputies said. Authorities said Rodarte and Gold had an off-and-on relationship, according to Fox 30.
Police confronted Rodarte after discrepancies between his statement and surveillance video of the car park at the restaurant where they both worked. "On video, it appeared a struggle took place in the car and the car was shaking and the door was opening and closing," Lt Steve Gallaher of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said, according to WJXT-TV.
"Rodarte exits the car after a few minutes, walks over to her car, takes an object our fit and puts it in his," Gallaher continued. "He then returns to her car and appears to puncture the front left tyre of her vehicle. He returned to his vehicle and after a few minutes he drove away and Savannah never exited the car."
According to Fox 30, Gold was reported missing when she failed to show up at work for her Wednesday night shift. About 30 minutes later, Gold's father Daniel said he received a text from her phone, which said she was running away with a great man she had met and would call them later.
Gold's parents said the text, which had misspelled words, tipped them off that something was wrong. "He showed it to me and I immediately knew it wasn't her," her mother, Sharon Gold, said. "We text each other all day and every day...and this was not from my daughter. It was from someone else."
Family shocked by Rodarte's confession
Gold's parents, who said they were shocked to find out Rodarte had allegedly confessed, told News4Jax that their daughter was full of life and had a warm personality.
"She's a great girl and we are going to miss her but we are celebrating her life," Sharon said. "He (Rodarte) has extinguished a bright light and now because of it, I will never hold her babies. I will never let this go and he will never see the last of me. I will fight to the day I die to make sure he stays in there (jail)."
Rodarte was ordered held without bond on the murder charge. He was also accused of tampering with evidence.