Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After murder-suicide, where are the dogs?

ST. PETERSBURG — It has been a month since William Brown Wood Jr. took his own life and the life of ex-wife Donna Aline Havard Wood, authorities say.

Mrs. Wood, 54, was found shot dead in her Snell Isle home on May 22. Police officers checked on her after discovering her ex-husband's body floating in a Tierra Verde canal earlier that day. He was also dead of a gunshot wound.

William Wood, 53, often spoke of taking his own life, his girlfriend said, and hurting his ex-wife at the same time. The couple's 25-year marriage officially ended in 2005. The later years of the union, though, were marked by discord, protective orders, separation and four divorce filings.

But Mrs. Wood may not have been her ex-husband's only victim.

His two dogs, Cindy and Shadow, haven't been seen since his death.

"Sometimes I think he dropped them off somewhere, but I fear they're gone," said Wood's girlfriend, Mariela Lucas. "If you knew Billy, those were his babies. He would never leave them with anybody.

"If he was going to do something drastic, he was going to take them with him."

• • •

Cindy is a 7-year-old white Labrador; Shadow, a 9-year-old black Labrador. They lived in Tierra Verde with Wood, Lucas and her two children.

Lucas told the St. Petersburg Times that Wood often talked of suicide, but she never took it seriously.

As she slept the night before his death, Wood cleaned out his belongings from their Tierra Verde home, even taking down most of his pictures off the family room wall.

"He removed everything from the house that was his so I wouldn't have to clean it up," she said. "But he also removed the puppy food."

• • •

The dogs disappeared along with their owner, authorities say. The pets were not inside the Snell Isle home where Mrs. Wood was found, according to St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

The dogs weren't found near Wood's body in a canal down the street from his Tierra Verde home either, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

When the Woods were discovered dead on May 22, St. Petersburg police found the body of a large dog locked inside a trunk floating in a bayou near Snell Isle.

William Wood's family told police that the dog wasn't one of his. That case remains unsolved.

But the family did tell police that they don't believe Wood would have hurt the dogs, according to Proffitt.

• • •

Lucas said she and her friends have tried looking for the dogs, even calling local shelters.

"My kids and I always go around to the same places where we used to walk the dogs," she said, "but nothing."

Lucas said detectives told her that the murder-suicide case is closed. There is no official investigation into the fate of the dogs.

"We have no idea what he would do with the dogs," she said, "except take them with him."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

After murder-suicide, where are the dogs? 06/30/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB


    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  2. What you need to know for Thursday, June 29


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    See that thing in the water? No? That's the point. It's that time of the year when stingrays are often lurking in the sand, often not visibly. Remember to do the stingray shuffle if you're out at the beach this weekend. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  3. Pinellas beaches seeing fewer injuries from stingrays, but the summer is still young


    FORT DE SOTO — Rebecca Glidden leaned back in her lifeguard chair, watching behind sunglasses as families splashed in the water at Fort De Soto's North Beach.

    A Clearwater water safety supervisor demonstrates the stingray shuffle. Pinellas beaches are reporting relatively few injuries from stingrays so far this year, but they anticipate more as the summer wears on. Officials are reminding beachgoers to do the shuffle when they enter the water and keep an eye out for purple flags flying from the lifeguard towers, which indicate stingray activity. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  4. Weeki Wachee River advocates agree to work to resolve issues

    Local Government

    WEEKI WACHEE — Degradation of the Weeki Wachee River is a complex mix of circumstances, with a variety of jurisdictions holding the authority to fix the problems. That has made finding solutions over the years more about frustration than success.

    A boat and kayak drift into one another as they share the narrow passage near Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River in March. Advocates fear too many vessels are damaging the river.
  5. Despite change in Cuba policy, cruise ships sail on


    TAMPA -- It's smooth sailing for cruises from Tampa to Havana, with the first of Carnival Cruise Line's 12 such excursions launching today, two months after Royal Caribbean's initial voyage from Port Tampa Bay to the island.

    The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. President Donald 

Trump's new Cuba policy may not hurt cruises to Havana at all. In fact, it may help these cruises. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times