Florida cold case researcher, Ellie Marie Washtock, 38, found dead in condo. 31 Jan 2019

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by dotr, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    rbbm
    Cold case researcher found dead in Florida condominium
    "Authorities say a woman who was investigating the 2010 death of a Florida sheriff's deputy's girlfriend was fatally shot inside her condominium.

    Putnam County Sheriff's officials said 38-year-old Ellie Marie Washtock was found dead by her 15-year-old son on Jan. 31.

    Investigators told news outlets that Washtock was a private citizen doing an independent investigation into the death of Michelle O'Connell, the girlfriend of St. John's County Sheriff's deputy Jeremy Banks."
    "First Coast News, citing the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, reported that “Washtock identified as both a female and male, which delayed a positive identification from the medical examiner's office.”
     
  2. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Authorities ID person investigating Michelle O'Connell case who was found shot dead at World Golf Village
    "Washtock identified as both a female and male, which delayed a positive identification from the medical examiner's office, PCSO said. Washtock also went by the names Eli and Craig Washtock. The medical examiner used physical characteristics like dental records and fingerprints to help identify the body.

    Deputies say Washtock was a private citizen investigating the controversial St. Johns County shooting death of Michelle O'Connell in 2010. Washtock reportedly put in a public records request on Aug. 22 and received the records on Aug. 30.

    Due to Washtock's involvement in the O'Connell case, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office turn the investigation over to the PCSO."
     
  3. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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  4. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Michelle O'Connell: 7 things to know about suspicious death of person looking into case
    "A neighbor says the victim was in fear for their life


    Alec Laughlin, who lives right across the hall from Washtock, says he knew Washtock as a man named Eli. He lives across the hall from the condo where Washtock was found dead.

    “He knew that somebody was coming for him, so he rented the place downstairs, didn’t tell anybody, let his kids stay there,” Laughlin said. “And he stayed in his regular place. So he knew it was coming.”

    Action News Jax asked Laughlin if Washtock said it was related to the O’Connell investigation."
    "Investigators took five days to identify the victim

    Putnam detectives took over the investigation Thursday hours after the body was found, but didn’t release Washtock’s identity until Monday.

    The Sheriff's Office had planned a news conference for Friday afternoon but canceled 45 minutes before it started because the medical examiner was not able to identify the body.

    Deputies said they would have to rely on dental records but said Monday that the medical examiner was able to make positive dentification from physical characteristics of the deceased.

    “Didn’t tell me. Didn’t tell any neighbors anything like that,” he said.

    According to court records, Washtock changed his name from Craig to Ellie in 2009."
    Investigators say they have no suspects in the case

    "Putnam investigators say the death is still classified as suspicious but there are no suspects in Washtock's death."
     
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  5. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    well if he knew someone was coming for him and was frightened enough to rent another place for his children (according to the neighbour), then why wouldn't he have contacted the police and left documentation as to who was after him?
     
  6. Onaliv

    Onaliv Well-Known Member

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    “IF” this death is related to the Michelle O’Connell investigation, there’s no LE in the St. Augustine area that the victim would have felt comfortable confiding in. Look at how the state LE agency (FDLE) has stood down in this recent death investigation because of all the conflicts surrounding the O’Connell matter and the Sheriff’s Dept. That’s the politics aspect of this. I do agree that he would have probably left something behind to indicate what his findings had been in the O’Connell case, however with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Dept. controlling the scene for several hours (before calling in the neighboring agency to take over) that is a touchy subject. Obviously there’s something that triggered SJCSO to determine this victim had some ties to the O’Connell case. I seriously doubt that LE has a cross reference on crime victims to determine if they’ve ever made a public records request, so how they tied this together is a curiosity.

    Aside from the political overtones, I have a very hard time believing that Ellie Washtock would have gained any meaningful information re: O’Connell case that would have put them at risk. The O’Connell case has had many investigators involved including investigative journalists, and doubtful that any smoking guns would not have already been revealed. That’s just my opinion and I mean no disrespect to Washtock.

    Also, I also feel that “IF” this death was related and planned as a hit to silence the citizen investigator, it would have taken place somewhere other than this condo, especially with the victim’s children in another unit at the same complex. The units in this particular complex are similar to hotel suites - connected by a common hallway with very little sense of privacy as opposed to private exterior entries. If someone came in and killed Ellie (versus self inflicted, which is yet to be known) that person most likely known to him and given access. Odds are this will be ruled a suicide and I’m basing that on statements from Putnam County Sheriff’s Dept. that there was no concern to the community. So many unanswered questions...
     
  7. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Michelle O’Connell’s family speaks out after daughter's investigator is found dead
    "Banks was never charged with any crime and still works for the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. Putnam County deputies say he isn't a suspect in Thursday's death.

    Patty told FCN she thinks Ellie Washtock was killed specifically for his investigation of Michelle’s death.

    “I do. He was finished with his work, he was confident we would prove Michelle was murdered. I would say I'm scared for your life. He would say if anything happened to him his investigation was already in other places...”
     
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  8. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    [bbm]

    and yet ... where?
     
  9. Reachingfornettles

    Reachingfornettles Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully in a prosecuting attorney's possession... May they stay safe!
     
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  10. swedeheart

    swedeheart Well-Known Member

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  11. Onaliv

    Onaliv Well-Known Member

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    I think this is a substantial development, but too early to determine if directly tied to the Michelle O’Connell case. Based on the outcome (homicide vs suicide) it’s probably a good thing that the SJSO wasn’t the controlling agency, or the outcome may have been different. You’d think if LE had a suspect there would be some type of BOLO for them... otherwise there’s a killer on the loose possibly still in St. Augustine. Does anybody have any thoughts?
     
  12. PayrollNerd

    PayrollNerd Well-Known Member

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    I bet all the evidence is electronically stored so there is a trail and it's indisputable. That way not just anyone can access it. I'm sure he/she had backup after backup because of the sensitivity of the evidence.
     
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  13. Breezie

    Breezie Well-Known Member

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    There are some interesting comments and replies to comments, on some posted articles, about Ellie, on the Justice for Michelle O’ Connell fb page. There was more happening than just a public records request.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  14. Catmammy

    Catmammy Well-Known Member

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    In no way am I victim blaming but I am curious as to whether or not the gender "change" could have come as a surprise to a volatile "friend"/potential sex partner.
     
  15. Catmammy

    Catmammy Well-Known Member

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    Having new partners and exploring one's self as a different gender would also be a viable reason for renting your very aware children another unit, for everyone's privacy.
     
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  16. Breezie

    Breezie Well-Known Member

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    Amateur Sleuth Investigates Shooting of Young Mom—and Winds Up Dead


    From this article:

    In February, Patty told First Coast News she believed Washtock was targeted over his investigation into O’Connell’s death.

    Patty O’Connell, via Facebook, mourned Washtock as “another son.”

    In one Facebook comment, Patty said Washtock was tracking “every move Michelle O'Connell’s killer made.” She said Washtock told her the suspect, who was in a sheriff’s patrol car, once ran “Eli and son off the road.”
     
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