SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Authorities say 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.
Crime scene tape surrounded a home on Oakhurst Drive in Seminole as Pinellas County detectives tried to find out who killed 36-year old Charlie Brooks, from Colorado.
According to investigators, landscapers working at one of the area residences saw Brooks’ body floating and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. The call was received at approximately 5:19 p.m. The body was retrieved and brought to shore and a check of the area was conducted.
Security cameras at Tampa International Airport caught video of Brooks meeting and leaving with an old boyfriend, Joseph Pope. “So something happened between this, looks like enthusiastic greeting here, at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday morning and sometime during the day on Sunday,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
The sheriff said Pope used a large white rock to kill Brooks. He then dumped her body into the Intracoastal Waterway behind his home, gathered up bloody clothing and plastic gloves and tossed them into a big bag, dumping it, according to the sheriff’s office.
As deputies were zeroing in on Pope, the suspect took a 45 caliber gun to his head and pulled the trigger, killing himself. “Frankly we will probably never know what caused Pope to kill Brooks in what was really a tragic and very brutal way. Her skull was bashed in,” Gualtieri said.
Before his death, Pope told detectives he didn’t even know Brooks and that she hadn’t visited him.
However, neighbors identified her from a photo and said she entered Pope’s home Sunday around 7 a.m.
Detectives have evidence from Pope’s residence, including trash bags containing a bloody rock, which is the presumed weapon. In addition, blood was located in and around Pope’s house.
Pope had no previous criminal record.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.