Dad Last Seen At College Drop-Off Found Dead A Year Later In Florida Woods

A Florida father of four who went missing while moving his daughter into college last year was found dead in woods not far from the hotel where he was last seen.

The skeletal remains of Jason Winoker, 52, were found in a heavily wooded area off the Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee on Oct. 17, police said. It’s a roughly six-minute walk from where Winoker’s wife reported last seeing him alive.

A group of adults who made the discovery were in the area “searching for artifacts,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The area had been previously searched by police, Alicia Hill, a spokesperson with the Tallahassee Police Department, told HuffPost in an email Monday afternoon.

“At this time it is unclear when he might have gone into that area after he was last seen,” she said. The wooded area is on the opposite side of the parkway where the hotel he was last seen at is located.

Winoker was visiting Florida State University from Tampa when he left a room he was sharing with his wife at the Marriott SpringHill Suites around 1 a.m. on Aug. 17, 2021, his wife, Renee Winoker, previously said on Facebook and in interviews with local media.

Renee Winoker, describing the last known hours of her husband’s life on social media, said he had been dealing with depression and insomnia and that sometimes he needed time alone “to work it out.” She said she figured he may have gone to the hotel’s lobby.

She began to panic, however, when he didn’t return by that evening.

Local police used dogs to search the one-mile area around the hotel, Renee told local station WFLA around the time of Jason’s disappearance.

“They have used cadaver dogs, they’ve used drones, and they’ve used dogs specific to his scent, but they haven’t been able to pick up on a solid trail,” Renee told WFLA last year.

Adding to her frustration, she said authorities were unable to review any of the hotel’s security footage from the time Jason vanished, because the video recorded over itself.

The medical examiner’s office declined to provide more information about the case to HuffPost on Monday, as it is an open and active investigation.

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