Remains of missing Florida man who dropped daughter off at college last year found

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Skeletal remains found in Florida’s capital city have been identified as a man who was last seen more than a year ago after he dropped his daughter off at college, authorities said.

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The remains of Jason Winoker, 52, of Land O’ Lakes, were found in a heavily wooded area on Oct. 17 in Tallahassee, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The father of four lived in Pasco County north of Tampa and was reported missing on Aug. 17, 2021, while on a trip to bring one of his daughters to Florida State University for the fall semester, according to the newspaper.

“Based on preliminary findings, we believe the remains are Jason Winoker,” Alicia Hill, a spokesperson with the Tallahassee Police Department said at a news conference.

According to a news release from the Tallahassee Police Department, Winoker was last seen near the area where his remains were located.

According to WCTV, Winoker and his family stayed at the SpringHill Suites Hotel on Apalachee Parkway. Winoker’s wife told the television station that he “woke up groggy and disoriented” around 1 a.m. EDT on Aug. 16, 2021, grabbed his wallet and keys, and left their hotel room without his cellphone.

According to a Sept. 13, 2021, Facebook post by his wife, Winoker struggled with insomnia, the Miami Herald reported. His wife assumed he was going for a walk but became concerned when he had not returned by the evening.

“I’ve been married to my husband for 21 years and it’s not like him to just disappear,” Winoker’s wife told WCTV shortly after his disappearance. “Maybe I thought he went down to the lobby, I don’t think I thought much of it in the moment because it wasn’t that weird to, you know, go down to the lobby or something.”

“At this time, we have no idea when he would have been in that wooded area,” Hill told the Democrat on Tuesday.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.