JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A body believed to be the remains of missing Jacksonville, Florida, woman Savannah Gold was found late Saturday, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
The body was found off Club Duclay Road — near Blanding Boulevard — in west Jacksonville.
Gold’s coworker at Bonefish Grill, manager Lee Rodarte, 28, became a suspect after discrepancies were found in his story, JSO said.
Rodarte was booked on charges of murder and tampering with evidence.
JSO said Gold got into Rodarte’s car in the parking lot of the restaurant on Wednesday afternoon, and they apparently had a fight. The two had an off-and-on relationship, JSO said.
A struggle ensued, JSO said, and Rodarte appeared to take an object and slash the tire of Gold’s car. After a few minutes, he drove away in his own car, JSO said.
Rodarte was arrested at the Mandarin restaurant, located just off I-295, on Saturday night. According to JSO, Rodarte admitted killing Gold and disposing of her body in the pond at the end of Club Duclay Road.
Rodarte led police to the body, JSO said. An autopsy is pending and will take place Sunday or Monday.
JSO said video surveillance showed a “possible struggle” inside Rodarte’s car. On the video, JSO said, Rodarte could be seen walking to Gold’s car, opening a door and looking inside.
JSO said Rodarte returned to his car and drove off at 6:04 p.m. Gold was never seen exiting the car, JSO said.
Gold was quickly reported missing Wednesday after she didn’t show up for her shift at Bonefish Grill on San Jose Boulevard.
About 30 minutes after Gold was supposed to be at work, her father Daniel said he got a text from Gold’s phone. It had misspelled words and said she was running away with a great guy she met and would call them later.
That was the moment Gold’s parents said they knew something was wrong.
“He showed it to me and I immediately knew that it wasn’t her,” Sharon Gold said. “We text each other all day and every day … and this was not from my daughter. It was from someone else.”