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Florida Man Who Raised Thousands in Fundraiser After Husband's 'Violent’ Murder Now Considered Prime Suspect: Cops

florida man raised thousands in fundraiser after husbands murder now prime suspect
Source: Marion County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

Aug. 13 2023, Published 12:08 p.m. ET

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A man in Florida launched a GoFundMe soon after his husband’s murder in March, but he's now considered a suspect in the murder case, authorities announced.

On March 25, police found 59-year-old Timothy Smith dead during a wellness check after he failed to show up for work, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said Smith was the victim of a “violent attack.”

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Days later, the victim's spouse, Herbert Swilley, created a GoFundMe, writing his husband's death was a “tragic loss for everyone, family and friends,” WINK reported. Swilley raised over $2,200 in donations to cover funeral expenses and a celebration of life.

On Aug. 9, the sheriff’s office announced that Swilley is now “considered a suspect in Timothy’s murder” and Swilley’s daughter, Jordan Swilley, is considered a person of interest.

Authorities said they spoke with Swilley “at the earliest stages of the investigation” and have been trying to contact him again, but “his attorney has indicated that he will only cooperate if he is provided with immunity from prosecution for Timothy’s murder.”

Jordan also “gave a preliminary statement but has declined to speak to detectives further,” officials said.

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On Aug. 8, Swilley posted a tribute on Facebook to his “very loving husband,” marking what would have been their eighth wedding anniversary.

Swilley wrote, “I know you are up there looking down on us and taking care of us. You will always be in my heart and thoughts.”


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Officials had not named any other suspects or a possible motive in the murder before the latest announcement in the case. At the time of his death, officials said the violent attack on Smith appeared to be targeted.

Sheriff Billy Woods told WINK, “What we have learned so far now leads us to believe that it was committed by somebody who the victim knew.”

Because Swilley reportedly won’t speak with detectives, officials are urging people to come forward with information to help solve the case. The sheriff’s office stated they have increased the reward to $14,500 for helpful information about Smith’s murder.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Daniel Pinder at (352) 368-3508 or the Marion County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number of (352) 732-9111. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers of Marion County at (352) 368-STOP (7867) and reference 23-21 in your tip, authorities said.


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