Since news broke in November that Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston was a suspect in a sexual assault reported in December 2012, the timing of the investigation has drawn numerous questions.
Why did this issue come up now? What happened that night? When was the case reactivated, and why?
Many answers remain unclear, and some accounts contradict others. With those caveats, here's a timeline of the Winston case, compiled through police accounts, statements from both attorneys, the state attorney's office and media reports from the Associated Press, ESPN and the Tallahassee Democrat:
A woman is offered a shot of alcohol by an unknown person at a Tallahassee bar before leaving in a cab, according to the Tallahassee Police Department. She claims to have been assaulted at an apartment between 1:30 and 2 a.m. FSU police get a call and refer the off-campus incident case to Tallahassee police, who arrive at 4:10 a.m. The woman is interviewed, and evidence is collected using a rape kit. The police begin investigating and ask an assistant state attorney to help obtain phone records.
The woman identifies Winston as a suspect. An investigator schedules a meeting with her, according to Tallahassee police.
Dade City attorney Patricia Carroll tells Tallahassee police that all contact with the accuser should go through her. The scheduled interview with the woman does not occur, according to Tallahassee police.
Week of Jan. 14
Tallahassee police contact Winston and request an interview.
All evidence is sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to be processed.
Winston declines an interview with police through his attorney, Tim Jansen.
Tallahassee police change the case from open and active to open and inactive. Around this time, Jansen is notified that the investigation has been "basically closed."
Feb. 22 and March 29
Tallahassee police receive toxicology reports from FDLE and relay them to Carroll. Carroll said she does not receive them until April 4 and that the blood work showed the woman was not intoxicated. Tallahassee police say Carroll said she would contact them if the woman wanted to pursue the case; Carroll says her client's family left the decision of whether to prosecute up to the cops.
FDLE gives its rape kit analysis to Tallahassee police.
Winston finishes 25-of-27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns in his first start for FSU, a 41-13 win at Pitt. He soon becomes a Heisman front-runner.
The Tampa Bay Times requests a copy of the Tallahassee police's incident report from Dec. 7.
TMZ requests a copy of the incident report.
Tallahassee police forward the case to the state attorney's office, which cannot review it until the next morning. Tallahassee city manager Anita Favors Thompson tells city officials about the case because it could draw national attention. Her emails, later obtained by the Democrat, say Winston is under investigation after a woman reported she was taken advantage of while intoxicated but later stopped communicating with authorities.
Tallahassee police release the incident report to the media. Although Winston is not named in it, TMZ reports he is the suspect. Jansen says Winston did nothing wrong and that two witnesses will corroborate his claim. The state attorney's office begins its investigation into a case that has been reactivated because of new information. State Attorney Willie Meggs is critical of police for waiting so long to give the case to his office.
Winston voluntarily provides a DNA swab to authorities.
Jansen says he's "deeply concerned" that Meggs was giving interviews and making "extrajudicial statements" about the investigation.
The woman's family releases a statement through Carroll, identifying Winston as the suspect. The family also alleges that Tallahassee police warned their attorney that the woman's life "will be made miserable" if she proceeded in the case and that they refused to collect Winston's DNA immediately after he was identified. Tallahassee police decline to address their specific concerns in an evening news conference. Just before midnight, ESPN reports that Winston's DNA matched a sample taken from the woman's underwear on Dec. 7.
Jansen says that the sex was consensual and that has always been Winston's defense.
In a statement, the family reiterates that the woman was raped.
Jansen meets with Meggs to try to speed up a resolution because the delay could jeopardize Winston's shot at the Heisman. Tallahassee police respond to questions about their tactics by releasing a timeline of their investigation. Jansen says he's "deeply troubled" because the timeline could taint a potential jury pool.
Meggs says Winston will not face prosecution for sexual assault and that the case is closed.