TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida authorities have arrested the widow of a man who was reported missing in 2000 and whose remains were found five months ago. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrests Denise Williams on Tuesday after a grand jury has indicted her for first-degree murder in the death of Mike Williams.
Prosecutor Jack Campbell said Denise Williams is also facing a census of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and a count to be an accessory after the fact. Williams was sent to Leon County Prison and is held without bail.
FDLE agent Mark Perez said in a statement that agents and analysts had logged more than 3,000 hours since taking over in 2004.
Mike Williams disappeared in December 2000 after allegedly ducking alone on a lake near Tallahassee. The body of the 31-year-old was not found after a long search in and around Lake Seminole. One theory at the time was that he was drowned and eaten by alligators, but this theory was later debunked.
The case has been considered suspicious for years and has been extensively discussed by the Tallahassee Democrat. Williams' best friend, Brian Winchester, helped him write a $ 1 million insurance policy six months before his disappearance. Five years later, Winchester married William's widow Denise.
Last year, Winchester was charged with kidnapping Denise Williams at gunpoint. He pleaded under no circumstances and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. FDLE announced that it had discovered Mike Williams' corpse the day after the condemnation of Winchester.
The authorities said they had Williams & # 39; Find remains after receiving "new information". His death was reportedly labeled a homicidal offense.
The indictment, which was unsealed Tuesday night, says Denise Williams has conspired with Winchester to kill Mike Williams and that Mike Williams was shot dead in Jackson County, reports CBS affiliate WCTV.
In a statement released for WCTV on Wednesday, Florida's CFO Jimmy Patronis said he instructs his department to investigate whether [Williams] death was part of a plan to fraudulently benefit from his life insurance.
Patronis Asked for Information
Denise Williams lawyer, Ethan Way, told the broadcaster that she was dismissing the charges.
"I am surprised that the grand jury has charged her," said Denise Williams & # 39; s attorney Ethan Way. "There has been a drumbeat against them for years, but it has nothing to do with Mike Williams' death, we will build a strong defense and we will fight it."
Way told the station it was "very coincidental" "The remains were found after Winchester was convicted and now Denise Williams is being charged."
"Let's not forget that she's the victim of a kidnapping," Way said.
Brian Winchester attorney Tim Jansen did not comment on whether Winchester was "involved in the alleged murder story," says the broadcaster.
"We do not expect him to be charged," Jansen told the broadcaster. "If he is summoned or given immunity, he will cooperate and testify truthfully at each hearing."
The prosecutor says no one else is being charged with murdering Williams and "they will continue to follow the evidence."
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