SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — A woman who flew from Colorado to Florida to reconnect with an old flame turned up dead days later, and her onetime boyfriend killed himself as investigators zeroed in on him as the prime suspect, authorities said.
Charlie Enice Brooks, 36, was found dead in a canal Monday, her skull bashed in with a rock, said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. A day earlier, surveillance video at Tampa International Airport showed her hugging and then holding hands with Joseph Pope at an airport terminal.
Her body was found near a dock two doors down from where Pope lived with his parents and siblings.
Police had identified Pope, 36, as the killer — but he shot and killed himself before they could make an arrest. Gualtieri said the case is now closed.
Pope told investigators he didn't know Brooks. A neighbor had seen a woman fitting her description at his house, but Pope said it was probably one of his sisters.
Investigators found a plastic bag containing gloves, bloody clothing and a large, bloody rock. In a second plastic bag, officers found more bloody clothes and pieces of Brooks' skull.
How Brooks and Pope reconnected, and why he would have killed her, remain unclear. The nature of their relationship years ago as teenagers was also unclear. No one answered the door at Pope's mint green home on the Intracoastal Waterway in an upscale neighborhood on Thursday morning.
"There's a lot of things here we'll never know the answers to," Gualtieri said at a news conference Wednesday.
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