A woman disappears after saying she’s going on a round-the-world sailing trip with her new boyfriend.
When Colleen Wood moved from Dayton, Ohio, to Boca Raton, Florida, it was the culmination of a lifelong dream. Then Colleen met a former racecar driver and Wall Street investor named John Paul. After a whirlwind romance, Colleen vanished without a trace. She’s never been seen or heard from again. Her son, Michael Tandarich, recalls what his mother had told him about John Paul:
Colleen and John fell madly in love. They were inseparable. They soon made plans to sail around the world on John’s 55-foot schooner the Island Girl. Colleen sold her condo and gave the profit to John to invest: $43,000. She moved in with him aboard the Island Girl, and then quit her job. Maureen Canada, owner of the Lighthouse Point Marina, was Colleen’s boss:
On December 3, 2000, Colleen placed a call to her son in Ohio. She told Mike that the Island Girl was setting sail in a few weeks and that she would be in touch soon. According to Maureen Canada, she spoke to Colleen about 10 days later to invite her to the office Christmas party:
According to Maureen, Colleen told her that she would definitely attend the party:
Colleen’s son also hadn’t heard from his mother:
Michael immediately contacted the police in Florida, but there was no evidence of any crime. Days turned into weeks and then months. Still, there was no sign of Colleen Wood.
Michael Tandarich tried to track down possible sightings of the Island Girl:
Michael searched the internet hoping to find an address or maybe a phone number for John Paul. What he discovered frightened him:
Michael learned that Colleen’s boyfriend was the mastermind behind a drug smuggling ring in the early 80s, and that he had tried to kill his partners in crime. Colleen met John Paul less than a year after he was paroled.
Colleen’s family and friends were certain she knew nothing about John Paul’s past. Asked about her disappearance, John would eventually give three different accounts of his relationship with Colleen, which he says ended on the rocks.
Colleen’s son, Michael, was able to track down John Paul’s daughter. She told Michael that her father said that Colleen had become upset over an incident involving one of John Paul’s old girlfriends and that she had been the one to end the relationship. The news only further fueled Michael’s fears:
Three days later, John Paul called Michael with a second version of the story:
Four months after Colleen was last heard from, investigators from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department turned up some suspicious activity on her credit cards. According to Det. Mark Shotwell:
If it wasn’t Colleen withdrawing cash from the ATMs, who was? The police were still investigating and will only say it was a woman, perhaps more than one.
Also raising suspicions were two ads that appeared in a local newspaper. According to Det. Shotwell, they were purchased with Colleen’s credit card:
Had the ads been placed by John Paul? Detectives weren’t sure. They only knew that the second ad began running on December 16, 2000, about the same time Maureen Canada spoke to Colleen by phone. According to Maureen, Colleen told her then that she was partying with John in Key West and that everything was fine.
Police finally tracked down John Paul and according to Det. Shotwell, he said he had no idea where Colleen was and offered a third version of the breakup:
But the alleged inconsistencies weren’t all that troubled the Det. Shotwell:
Despite the allegations, suspicious behavior, and the inconsistent stories, there is no solid evidence to indicate Paul had anything to do with Colleen’s disappearance. In fact, John Paul may have no knowledge whatsoever about the mystery. According to Det. Shotwell, he has not been named a suspect in the case:
Meanwhile, Michael awaits word on what happened to his mother:
John Paul has apparently left town, violating the terms of his parole. Detectives would like to find him to question him again about the disappearance of Colleen Wood.
If you have been in recent contact with John Paul, or knows his current location, please contact Det. Shotwell at 954-828-5517 or [email protected]
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