AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) — Russell Carroll says he started dating Tonya Whipp when he got out of prison in January.
Florida Department of Corrections records show he was serving time for attempted murder.
Carroll also has Whipp’s name tattooed across both of his arms.
“I miss her. I love her, you know what I’m saying? It’s hard going through stuff like this. I know she’s been gone for a while. It’s getting on everybody,” he told reporters Wednesday.
He said he last saw Whipp when he left for work in late May. But when he got home, he said, she was gone.
Her car, her purse, and her dog were still in the Caroline Avenue house.
Carroll never reported her missing.
It was her family who contacted the police after a month had passed.
“I don’t know what to do. I mean, I just got out of prison now you go missing – what am I gonna do? Now everybody is looking at me like I did something to you,” said Carroll.
On Wednesday, Auburndale Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a search warrant at his home.
Carroll and his brother, Preston Irons, said police took their computers and cell phones.
Carroll said all police will find are mundane text messages between him and Whipp.
“’Hey baby, coming home from work. What do you want to eat?'” he said the text messages would show.
Carroll said the recording system for cameras in and around the home had already deleted the footage by the time he checked a month after Whipp disappeared.
Auburndale Police Chief Terry Storie told News Channel 8 he believes the search warrant was successful and he is pleased with the items removed from the house.
He declined to elaborate on what items the police seized.
“Only downside is we didn’t find Tonya. Tonya was not necessarily the only target in the search warrant,” he said.
This is the second known search warrant executed in the case.
In July, police searched property belonging to Jake Rudy, a friend of Whipp.
“It’s really hard to keep hope – to think that something bad has happened. To say that our family isn’t ripped to pieces over this – we are. It’s killing us,” said Whipp’s aunt Lisa Textor.
Whipp’s family said the search warrant execution Wednesday was “bittersweet.”
“We were really a lot more hopeful that something would be found but obviously, we don’t know if they found anything. We were hoping that we’d get answers to where Tonya’s at and that didn’t happen but we know they’re working hard to get us those answers,” said Textor.
There is a $4,000 reward for information on Tonya Whipp’s whereabouts.
If you know anything about Whipp’s disappearance, call Auburndale police at 863-965-5555 or email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips can also be made to Heartland Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-226-TIPS (8477) or visiting www.P3Tips.com.