Deputies: Body in car appears to be a suicide
A body was found inside a car at the Mystic Oaks Plaza on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Wesley Chapel on Saturday afternoon.
Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said the woman appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A passer-by saw the woman inside a four-door Nissan, slumped over the back seat. The woman's name was not released Saturday evening.
Slain informant was not on officials' radar
The Tallahassee Democrat reported Saturday that neither the defense attorney for Rachel Hoffman or the State Attorney's Office knew that she was acting as a police informant.
Hoffman, a 2007 Florida State University graduate who grew up in the Clearwater area, disappeared Wednesday as she posed for the Tallahassee Police Department as a buyer of drugs and a handgun. The 23-year-old's body was found Friday, and charges are pending against the two suspects police arranged for her to meet.
Johnny Devine, Hoffman's attorney, said he would have advised against her assignment.
"My job is to keep her out of harm's way, but I didn't have an opportunity because I didn't know," Devine said, according to the newspaper.
Willie Meggs, a state attorney, said his office is commonly told when someone in the justice system is acting as an informant.
"I am not aware of that ever happening before," Meggs said about not receiving notification. "Typically, we do know."
Tallahassee police responded by saying they try to restrict who knows the identities of their informants. Spokesman David McCranie said police tell Meggs' office when they recruit someone on probation, but Hoffman was participating in a drug diversion program.
Information from the Tallahassee Democrat was used in this report.