A deputy thought everything looked fine, but Jason Waggoner suspected otherwise and broke into his girlfriend's condominium. He found her murdered.
Waggoner was the boyfriend of one of two students found slain last week. He had planned to meet Eleanor Anne Grace, his girlfriend of four years, when he got off from his waiter's job at Cuco's restaurant early June 7.
But since the afternoon before, calls to the apartment Grace shared with Carla McKishnie had reached a busy signal.
When he arrived at her apartment about 12:30 a.m., the place was dark. The women's cars were parked out front, but no one answered the door.
As the night wore on, Waggoner became more frantic, driving back and forth to her apartment four times.
"I had a gut feeling all along that something was very wrong."
His concern had turned to terror by 6:30 a.m.
Waggoner called Grace's mother in Fort Myers.
"Call the police," she told him.
Just before dawn June 7, Jason Waggoner met a deputy outside the Casablanca West condominium.
After a 15-minute check, including peering into windows and rattling door knobs, the deputy turned to Waggoner and said, "Everything looks okay to me. Tight as a drum."
But it wasn't. "And I knew it," Waggoner told the Tampa Tribune in a story published Thursday.
Waggoner returned home and again called the Alachua County Sheriff's Office. "They told me I should go back around 9 to get a key from the manager."
A Sheriff's Office spokesman has acknowledged that the deputy who checked the exterior of the apartment found no reason to break in and was planning to return to get a key when the office opened.
Waggoner said he again called the Grace home and Anne's father told him to break into the apartment.
Waggoner sped back to the Casablanca West condominiums with his roommate, Tom Mowry, and hoisted himself up to a second-floor window. He smashed the glass with a golf club.
"At first, everything looked all right," he said. "Then I found the bathroom door locked and ran downstairs to let my friend in. Tom opened the bathroom door with a coat hanger. And there was Anne."
Deputies discovered McKishnie's body hidden under a bed about 30 minutes later.
The sight of his girlfriend's bloodied face, her body slumped on the bathroom floor, sent Waggoner spiraling into a dark hole he only now is beginning to crawl free of.
"I find myself staring off for hours, sometimes thinking of things, sometimes not thinking at all," he said.