Widow Charged With Murder Of Missing Seminole Duck Hunter

UPDATE: Denise Williams guilty.

GON Staff | December 15, 2018

UPDATE: Dec. 16, 2018: Denise Williams was found guilty Friday, Dec. 15 in a Tallahassee courtroom of three counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Her husband, Mike Williams, was killed by Brian Winchester, who had been Mike Williams’ best friend. Denise Williams and Winchester were having an affair and planned the murder. Denise Williams later received $1.75 million in life insurance payments, including a $1 million policy that Winchester sold to his best friend, Mike Williams.

Winchester and Denise Williams were later married, but their contentious split in 2016 led to resolution in the case of Mike Williams, who went missing reportedly during a duck hunting trip on Lake Seminole.

Winchester testified in the case against Denise Williams, and the details of Mike Williams’ murder are bone-chilling. Winchester said he planned to make it look like Williams had drowned by pushing him out of Williams’ duck hunting boat, but Williams did not get dragged underwater by his duck-hunting equipment, as Winchester planned. Winchester said he then shot Williams in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun and dragged his body to shore, put him in the back of his truck and drove back to Tallahassee. He later buried him next to Carr Lake, a small lake also known as Mallard Pond north of Tallahassee.

Original Story Posted May 9, 2018: The story was her husband never returned from a duck-hunting trip on Lake Seminole. And since his body was never recovered, that he was likely eaten by alligators, which are numerous and often quite large on Lake Seminole.

Seventeen years after Mike Williams, of Tallahassee, Fla., went missing on Dec. 16, 2000 and was legally declared dead about six months later, his body has been found, and his widow has been arrested for first-degree murder and other charges. The break in the missing hunter’s case came soon after the widow’s new husband— the missing man’s best friend— was sentenced to prison for a domestic violence case against the widow.

Denise Williams, 48, has been indicted by a Florida grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and accessory after the fact, according to Leon County Sheriff’s Department records.

Florida State University police officers arrested Williams on Tuesday, May 9, seven months after her ex-husband’s body was discovered, and 17 years after he went missing. Denise Williams works at FSU as an Accounts Payable Manager, Tax Specialist, according to the Florida State website.

Mike Williams was reported missing after he supposedly went duck hunting alone on Lake Seminole, which is about 60 miles northwest of Tallahassee. His body wasn’t found after extensive searches of the lake, and a theory was spread that his body was eaten by alligators.

Six months ago, in October 2017, Mike Williams’ body was found buried under 6 feet of mud and muck near a boat landing in Tallahassee, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

His body was found after a five-day search and extensive excavation at a boat ramp on Carr Lake, also known as Mallard Pond. The ramp is at the end of Gardner Road in north Leon County near Tallahassee.

According to media reports, six months after her husband went missing, Denise Williams went to court and had Mike Williams declared dead. She then collected more than $2 million in life insurance. Five years later, she married Mike Williams’ best friend, Brian Winchester, who had sold Mike one of the life-insurance policies six months before he went missing. The break in the case came soon after Winchester was sentenced to 20 years in prison for kidnapping Denise Williams at gunpoint.

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