1. Archive

Deputies locate man sought in disappearance

Two days after his ex-girlfriend is reported missing, the man is found with a note asking for forgiveness.

Forest Snedegar, sought in the suspected abduction of his ex-girlfriend, was found in a Lake Placid motel room Wednesday as he slipped into a coma.

Nearby was an empty prescription drug bottle and a note asking for forgiveness.

But authorities said they found nothing that would lead to Cheryl Burns, the 53-year-old Lakeland woman who has been missing since Monday when she sought a court order to keep Snedegar away.

"We don't know if he is going to wake up, so right now we have no leads as to where she might be," Polk County sheriff's Capt. W.J. Martin said Wednesday night. "At this point our hopes for her survival have diminished."

Snedegar, 43, remained in a coma at Winter Haven Hospital Wednesday night after he apparently took an overdose of prescription drugs, Martin said.

He and Burns have been the subject of an intense search since Monday night. Polk authorities issued an alert seeking help from police departments throughout the Southeast.

A police officer in Lake Placid recognized Snedegar and knew he had an acquaintance who lived near the small Highlands County town. Martin said that led police to a room at the Plumosa Motel off U.S. 27.

Officers came to the motel about 2:30 a.m. They found Snedegar awake and talking, Martin said, but he had just ingested drugs, including the painkiller Darvocet, and was lapsing into unconsciousness.

"They couldn't get any information from him. He was just rambling and at first they thought he was drunk," Martin said.

Police found Burns' red 1999 Pontiac Grand Am in a store parking lot a few blocks from the motel, Martin said.

On a table in the motel room was a one-page note, apparently written by Snedegar, Martin said.

The sheriff's captain would not reveal the note's contents except to say Snedegar asked for forgiveness for his treatment of Burns.

Martin said Snedegar had quickly been linked to the disappearance of Burns after she was reported missing Monday night.

Her roommate told sheriff's deputies that she arrived at the mobile home she and Burns shared north of Lakeland about 8 p.m. and Burns was gone. The home had been broken into and there were signs of a fight, including blood stains in at least two rooms that someone had tried to clean, Martin said.

A handgun was missing from the home. Martin declined to say whether a gun was found when police discovered Snedegar.

On Sunday night, deputies had been to the mobile home on W Oak Drive after Burns reported Snedegar had broken in and hit her. He left before deputies arrived. Burns did not require medical treatment, Martin said.

On Monday morning, Burns obtained a court order requiring Snedegar to stay away from her.