The widow of a man who was reported missing in 2000 after supposedly going on a hunting trip alone was arrested Tuesday after she was indicted on a first-degree murder charge.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers arrested Denise Williams, 48, at her Florida State office, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Williams also faces a count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and a count of being an accessory after the fact, state attorney Jack Campbell said.
Williams was booked into Leon County Jail and was being held without bail.
Mike Williams disappeared in December 2000 after he supposedly went duck hunting alone on a lake near Tallahassee. Williams’ body wasn’t initially found after an extensive search in and around Lake Seminole and a theory spread that he was eaten by an alligator.
The theory was debunked when Williams’ body was discovered in December 2017, buried under muck near a boat landing in Tallahassee, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“Oh, my gosh,” Clay Ketcham, Mike Williams’ boss and friend, told the newspaper. “I never thought this day would get here. It’s horrible. But it’s a feeling of coming to resolution.”
The case had been considered suspicious for years. Brian Winchester, another friend of Mike Williams, helped him write a $1 million insurance policy before he disappeared. Five years later, Winchester married Denise Williams.
Winchester was charged with kidnapping Denise Williams at gunpoint. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Authorities discovered Mike Williams’ body a day after Winchester was sentenced.
“I never thought this day would get here. It’s horrible. But it’s a feeling of coming to resolution.”
It’s unclear whether anyone else will be charged in the murder. Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Mark Perez praised the efforts of investigators.
"We’ve had this case for 15 years, and the relentless effort in working with prosecutors and then ultimately the grand jury in bringing those responsible for Mike Williams’ [death] to justice is a great reward," Perez said. "Hopefully, this will bring peace and resolution to the Williams family.”
Denise Williams was expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.