BELLE ISLE, Fla. — A body found inside an SUV in a retention pond this past weekend was identified as being a missing woman from Belle Isle, according to Orange County's medical examiner.
What You Need To Know
- Police say Stephanie Hollingsworth drove away in a 2000 Silver Chevrolet Tahoe
- SUV was found this weekend in a retention pond
- Medical examiner identified remains found in the vehicle
The medical examiner's office says the family of Stephanie Hollingsworth has been notified, along with the Belle Isle Police Dept.
In a statement, the Hollingsworth family thanked Belle Isle Police, search volunteers, local media outlets and two companies for their parts in the search.
"Stephanie was loved by her family and married to her soulmate. Together they were raising three strong, well-rounded boys. They are all heartbroken. The finding of Stephanie Hollingsworth has now brought closure to the family," the statement read.
A fund has also been set up to help with covering the cost of the search. Information is in the statement from the family.
Stephanie Hollingsworth's Husband: It's Not a Home Without Her
The following is from an interview reporter Curtis McCloud conducted with Scott Hollingsworth, which aired on October 16.
The husband of missing Belle Isle mother Stephanie Hollingsworth said that he and their family have no idea where his wife may be, but he wants her home safely.
“If you are out there and you are concerned, and you are hearing all this chaos and you are afraid to come home please, please turn that off and just make the phone call and let us know you are okay," Scott Hollingsworth said, speaking through tears.
The loving wife and mother of three boys vanished three weeks ago, on September 25, police and family said.
“Everywhere you look in this home…is a piece of her," Hollingsworth said. "It's not a home without her."
Asked directly whether he had anything to do with his wife's disappearance, Scott Hollingsworth replied, "No, absolutely not…it's absolutely ridiculous to have to think about that, to have to answer those questions, but no, it's, you know, our family, myself, we just absolutely we would never…it's hard enough for us to kill a fly, let alone do something so horrid like that.”
Belle Isle Police said Stephanie Hollingsworth left her home on Monet Avenue on September 25, taking her purse but leaving behind her cell phone.
Police said they believe she then withdrew $20 from a Bank of America at Hoffner Avenue and Goldenrod Road and drove to a Walmart on South Goldenrod Road. A security camera video there captured Hollingsworth paying for vodka and a bottle of Fanta.
“We know that Stephanie left her house willingly," Belle Isle Police Chief Laura Houston said. "She went to Walmart willingly. We do not know what happened after that."
"There are a lot of social media and a lot comments out there that they point out — and this happens usually — that they point out and they point at the husband, that he’s acting funny or his expressions are off. Scott Hollingsworth has been ruled out as a person of interest in Stephanie’s disappearance," Houston said.
Meanwhile, Scott Hollingsworth said he is forever grateful for the help his family has received in the search.
“All we know is that we love you so much, and we all want this to end," Scott Hollingsworth said. "We just need you home."