Widow of Florida man missing for 17 years is now charged with his murder

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Denise Williams, the widow of a Tallahassee man who went missing for 17 years before his body was found last year, has been arrested and charged with his murder.

According to a Leon County grand jury indictment, Denise Williams has been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and accessory after the fact in the death of Mike Williams. She was arrested Tuesday at her office at Florida State University and was escorted away by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The indictment states that Denise Williams and Brian Winchester, her husband's best friend, plotted for nearly nine months to kill the 31-year-old.

Winchester shot and killed Mike Williams in December 2000, according to the indictment, and went on to marry Denise Williams after the murder. Winchester has not been indicted, charged or arrested in connection with Mike's murder.

The case was originally classified as a drowning before investigators determined that Mike Williams had been murdered.

Mike Williams went missing on Dec. 16, 2000, after leaving home that morning to go duck hunting on Lake Seminole in Jackson County, according to the indictment. Everyone presumed that Williams fell from his boat and tragically drowned. They thought, "Maybe his body was eaten by alligators?" according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Seventeen years later, FDLE received a tip about new information in the case and found his remains in December of 2017.

"FDLE agents & analysts logged over 3,000 hours on this case...I also thank the Grand Jury," FDLE Tallahassee Special Agent in Charge Mark Perez tweeted today.

Denise Williams' attorney, Ethan Way, told the Tallahassee Democrat that Winchester lied about her role in killing her husband.

"My client had absolutely nothing to do with Mike Williams' disappearance and had absolutely nothing to do with any of the crimes that Brian Winchester committed," Way told the paper. "We will fight this until the end. And I'm certain when a jury hears from Denise Williams and the facts come out, the inescapable conclusion is that Brian Winchester killed Mike Williams."

Denise Williams first appearance in court is scheduled for Wednesday morning.