Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Education

Wife of former Freedom High principal committed suicide, medical examiner says

TAMPA — The wife of former Freedom High School principal David Sheppard committed suicide, according to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner.

No further details were available Tuesday. But Dick Bailey of the Medical Examiner's office said his staff has determined the cause of death was drowning, and the manner of death was suicide.

The disclosure was the latest development in an unusual set of circumstances surrounding Sheppard.

The body of Donna Sheppard, 44, was recovered from the bottom of the couple's swimming pool in Lutz on Oct. 29, five days after Sheppard stepped down as Freedom's principal.

In addition to the medical examiner, Hillsborough sheriff's investigators have been looking into the death.

Sheppard was under investigation by the school district because of an anonymous allegation that he had an inappropriate relationship with an employee at another school.

Tracey Seenath, a district employee who worked under Sheppard while he was assistant principal at Wharton High, was arrested on Sept. 11 on charges that she stalked Sheppard and his wife.

Seenath, who has pleaded not guilty, was arraigned Tuesday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court. She was not in court, but attorney John Demmi appeared in her place.

Demmi told Circuit Court Judge Tom Barber that he hopes another matter can be resolved before the stalking case proceeds. He said later he was referring to Donna Sheppard's death investigation. Barber set a disposition date of Jan. 23.

Sheppard, meanwhile, will move in January into a teaching position at Gaither High School. He has not been replaced at Freedom.

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