Body of missing Florida woman found, coworker charged

Savannah Gold (L) and Lee Rodarte (R)

WJAX-TV

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A body believed to be the remains of a missing Jacksonville woman were found late Saturday, reports CBS affiliate WJAX-TV.

Savannah Gold's remains were discovered not far from a road west of Jacksonville, and a coworker is now considered a suspect in her death, police said.

The suspect, 28-year-old Lee Rodarte, and the victim worked together at the restaurant Bonefish Grill, where Rodarte was a manager. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the two had an off-and-on relationship.

Deputies said surveillance footage showed Gold getting into Rodarte's car in the parking lot of the restaurant on Wednesday afternoon. A struggle ensued, deputies said, and Rodarte appeared to take an object and slash the tire of Gold's car. After a few minutes, he drove away in his own car. Gold was never seen leaving the vehicle, deputies said.

Gold was reported missing after she failed to show up for work Wednesday evening. About 30 minutes after Gold was supposed to arrive at the restaurant, her father received a text from her phone. Her father said the text had misspelled words and claimed Gold was running away with a great guy she met. The text promised she'd call him later.

"He showed it to me and I immediately knew that it wasn't her," said Sharon Gold, Savannah's mother. "We text each other all day and every day … and this was not from my daughter. It was from someone else."

Rodarte was arrested Saturday night at another restaurant in Jacksonville. He allegedly admitted to killing Gold and disposing of her body at the end of Club Duclay Road. Traffic tickets issued to Rodarte in 2006 show that he previously lived on the same street.

Deputies said Rodarte led them to the body. An autopsy is pending and the cause of death has not been released.

Rodarte appeared in court Sunday after being booked on charges of murder and tampering with evidence. A judge said he is being held without bond on the murder charge.