MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida man who raised thousands of dollars after his husband was brutally murdered is now being considered a suspect in the killing, according to officials.
Earlier this year, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office was called to conduct a well-being check on 59-year-old Timothy Smith after he failed to show up for work on Friday, March 24.
When deputies walked into Smith’s Citrus Park home around 10:50 a.m. on Saturday, March 25, he was found dead. Authorities said it appeared he suffered a “violent attack” before his death.
After months of investigating, MCSO has yet to make an arrest, but on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office announced a new development in the case – Smith’s husband, Herbert Swilley, who raised thousands of dollars after Smith was killed, is now considered a suspect in the murder.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the sheriff’s office announced that an enhanced reward of up to $14,500 is being offered for helpful information about Smith’s murder. MCSO also revealed that Swilley’s daughter, Jordan Swilley, is also considered to be a person of interest.
“Many of you have asked for updates on the status of this investigation and here is what we can tell you,” the post began. “At this time, Herbert Swilley, the victim’s spouse, is considered a suspect in Timothy’s murder.”
According to deputies, detectives spoke with Swilley at the “earliest stages” of the investigation and noted that they’ve been trying to speak with him again. However, Swilley’s attorney has “indicated that he will only cooperate if he is provided with immunity from prosecution for Timothy’s murder.”
MCSO said Swilley’s daughter, Jordan, also gave a preliminary statement but has “declined to speak to detectives further.”
Since Swilley and Jordan won’t speak with detectives investigating Smith’s murder about evidence that has been uncovered during the investigation, the sheriff’s office said they’re hoping people in the community may know things that could help solve this case.
On Tuesday, just hours before the sheriff’s department announced he was a suspect, Swilley shared an emotional post on what would have been the couple’s eighth anniversary.
“It would have been 8 years we’ve been married. To be honest, I miss you every day and wish you were here. Life isn’t the same without you. I miss your smile and your loving spirit. To let you know, it’s a very hard day. Because I know we would have had a great celebration,” Swilley wrote on Facebook.
In April, Swilley raised more than $2,200 in donations on GoFundMe to cover the expenses for a “celebration of life.”
Anyone with any information, “even if it seems unimportant,” is asked to call Detective Daniel Pinder at (352) 368-3508 or the Marion County Crime Stoppers at (352) 368-STOP. A reward of $14,500 is being offered for information that leads to help solve the case.