03-09-2008, 02:12 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Pilar Sophia Rodriguez (3) - Hollywood FL, 1999
Missing Since: January 30, 1999 from Hollywood, Florida
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: February 5, 1995
Age: 3 years old
Height and Weight: 3'0, 35 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic female. Black hair, brown eyes. Pilar has a red birthmark on the bridge of her nose.
Details of Disappearance
Pilar's father, Marco Rodriguez, was her custodial parent in 1999. He permitted Pilar's babysitter, Melissa Cooper, to take the child on vacation for two weeks on January 30, 1999. Cooper took Pilar to the Trail Apartments in Punta Gorda, Florida, located approximately 135 miles from the Rodriguez home in Hollywood, Florida. Cooper's former boyfriend, a truck driver named Keith Allen Wilson, accompanied them.
Marco called the authorities when Cooper and Pilar did not return by February 22, 1999. Cooper and Allen did not have the child, and they initially claimed that Marco had picked her up. Allen also said he had seen evidence that Marco had physically abused Pilar. Police investigated Marco thoroughly but found no evidence that he was involved in his daughter's disappearance or that he abused her, though he does have a criminal record for battery and driving under the influence. Pilar has never been seen again.
Wilson later changed his story and claimed Cooper, an insulin-dependent diabetic, collapsed in a store and was hospitalized, and when she arrived back at the hotel room she shared with Pilar and Wilson, the child was missing. Cooper denied that any of this had actually happened.
Cooper was located at a her aunt's home in Wisconsin shortly after Marco filed a report with law enforcement. Cooper claimed that she fled from the vacation home she shared with Pilar and Wilson after her boyfriend became physically abusive towards her and the child. Cooper said that Wilson beat Pilar severely and knocked her head into a wall. She turned blue and had convulsions. He refused to get medical attention for her and she died. He then put her body in a black trash bag and disposed of the child's remains in an unknown location. Wilson denied Cooper's allegations and said that she herself was responsible for Pilar's death. Cooper took a polygraph exam shortly afterwards and passed, according to one source.
Authorities believe that Pilar was the victim of foul play. Officials drained Preacher's Lake, a popular swimming place in Charlotte County, Florida which is inhabited by alligators, in November 1999 after receiving a tip from fishermen. They found some unspecified biological matter which they believe is a trace of Pilar's remains. After the discovery, they announced that they were investigating her case as a homicide. Police also found several child-size t-shirts in the lake, including one with a picture of the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh printed on it. Marco says Pilar had such a shirt with her when she left with Cooper. Nothing else of evidentiary value was found in the lake, however. The Peace River in Charlotte County was searched in February 2001, but no evidence was located.
Marco filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Wilson, even though Pilar's body has never been recovered and no arrests have been made in her case. The suit was dismissed after Marco's attorney withdrew from the case because of a conflict of interest. Pilar's mother lives in Ohio; her father was raising her by himself.
Wilson remains the prime suspect in Pilar's presumed murder; he maintains his innocence. Florida authorities warned law enforcement officials in Kentucky that Marco may have been planning revenge against Wilson after Pilar's disappearance. Wilson is a resident of Kentucky. Pilar's case remains unsolved and authorities continue to search for her remains.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Charlotte County Sheriff's Office
04-11-2010, 02:14 AM #2Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Discuss Pilar's case here:
FL - Pilar Rodriguez (3 yo) Missing since 1999 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community
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