Cops: Man Killed Co-Worker, Texted Her Parents

They knew straight away it wasn't her
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2017 7:02 AM CDT
Lee Rodarte.   (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – A Florida man murdered a co-worker and then used her phone to send a text to her parents, police say. The parents of 21-year-old Savannah Gold say their suspicions were immediately aroused by the "really strange" message they received after she left for work at the Bonefish Grill in Jacksonville last Wednesday, People reports. "Hey i just wanted to tell you and mom i met a really great guy and we’re running away together," one message to her father said. "I love him and we're leaving tonight i'll call you later when we get to where we are going." "He showed it to me and I immediately knew that it was someone else," mother Sharon Gold tells Action News Jax. "We text each other all day ... and this was not from my daughter."

Says father Daniel Gold, "The spelling was all whacked out." After Gold's car was found in the restaurant's parking lot with a slashed tire and her purse still inside, authorities identified manager Lee Rodarte, 28, as a suspect because of inconsistencies in his story. Police say Rodarte, who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Gold, eventually admitted killing her and led them to her body, which he had dumped in a lake. Investigators believe Rodarte was the one who sent the text to Gold's parents. Her parents say after the disappearance, he told them he was worried about her and even helped hand out missing-person flyers. He has been charged with murder and evidence tampering and is being held without bond. (Read more murder stories.)

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