North Santa Rosa

Body Found in Escambia Bay Tentatively Identified

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office has made a tentative identification of the body found floating in Escambia Bay on Saturday, 3/17/12.  The body had a GPS ankle monitor attached to it, which led investigators to the tentative identification.  The GPS manufacturer was able to check the serial numbers assigned to the unit, and found that it was registered and assigned to Patrick Willingham, 29 years old, fromPensacola.  Willingham was on GPS monitoring through State Probation in Escambia County due to his being a registered sex offender.  The GPS ankle monitor was intact on Willingham and had not been tampered with at the time of his discovery.

 Willingham was reported missing to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office on 12/22/11 by his family after his vehicle was discovered abandoned by the Florida Highway Patrol on 12/21/11. Willingham’s family was also concerned due to some recent comments that Willingham had made, and believed that he was depressed. Willingham’s 2010 Hyundai was found abandoned on the Interstate 10 Escambia Bay Bridge in the eastbound lane, just east of the 17 mile marker. Willingham’s GPS monitor last transmitted on 12/20/11 at 0900 hours from the top of the Escambia Bay Bridge.

At that time, State Probation received a notification that Willingham had travelled too far away from his base unit, which was found located inside his vehicle.  Once Willingham’s ankle monitor was out of range from the base unit, the ankle monitor could not be tracked.  Willingham had not been heard from or seen since that time. Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit checked the area with boats on 12/22/11 which met with negative results. On 12/28/11, FWCC was contacted and also checked the waterways for signs of Willingham. This also met with negative results.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation, however foul play is not suspected at this time. A positive identification will have to be confirmed through further analysis of the remains. No further information is available at this time.


On 3/17/12, at 1130 hours, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Archie Glover Boat Ramp located off ofAvalon Interstate 10 in reference to boaters discovering a dead body floating inEscambiaBay. Avalon Fire Department and Lifeguard Ambulance also responded to the scene. The boaters that discovered the body waited at that location so that deputies would know where to respond to find the body. Deputies and rescue personnel went to the location of the discovery with the assistance of Avalon Fire Department Rescue boats and found a human body that appeared to have been in the bay for a lengthy period of time. The body was found floating north of the I-10 bridge and south of the train tressel on theSanta Rosaside. Investigators, crime scene, Medical Examiners Office, and Fire Department are currently on scene conducting a death investigation. No further information is known at this time, as the investigation is in its preliminary stages. More information will be released as it becomes available.

Posted by on Mar 19 2012. Filed under Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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