Family offering $10K reward in death of father found in Alafia River

William Morris' body recovered west of Island 75
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jan 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 18:42:05-05

There's a renewed effort to uncover new information regarding the mysterious drowning death of a Gibsonton father.

It's been two months since search crews recovered the body of William Morris west of Island 75 in the Alafia River.  

Authorities received a call on Halloween saying the 38-year-old father took his son jet skiing in the Alafia River, but they never returned home.

Morris' wife called his phone using the app FaceTime. But it was their 3-year-old son, August, who picked up frightened and in tears.

Tina Morris panicked when August told her his father was missing. She rushed to a neighbors house to call 9-1-1 while keeping her son on the phone.

A bystander found his 3-year-old son stranded on the family's See-Doo, along with the Morris' wallet and life-jacket.

“You scream and you cuss, you swear," said William's mother, Cindy Morris. "There's just so many things that go through your head."

In the past 9 weeks, Cindy Morris has not stopped questioning what exactly happened to her son.

She says the 38-year-old father of three was an avid boater and jet-ski rider who knew the waters around the Alafia River well.

“Your mind keeps going and going and going," said Cindy Morris. "You just can’t turn it off."

Morris' autopsy results are pending, but according to the Medical Examiner, the preliminary cause of death has been identified as accidental drowning.

“I don’t think it’s that simple, in my heart, it’s not that," said Cindy Morris.

Cindy Morris and family friends say they are now taking action themselves.

Thursday they announced a $10,000 reward for "information that leads to the arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible for the death of William Morris."

Investigators with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office have stated from the beginning, they do not believe foul play was involved.

HCSO tells ABC Action News, the case is still considered an active investigation until the Medical Examiner releases its final autopsy report, expected to be completed within the next month.

“$10,000 is a lot of money, but he’s worth more than that to find out the answers," said Cindy Morris.

Cindy Morris tells ABC Action News that she plans to meet with an HCSO detective next week about her son's case.