Manatee sheriff's office follows tip on death of Palmetto High teacher

rdymond@bradenton.comSeptember 27, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has received a tip on the death of former Palmetto High School media specialist Pat Mullins, his widow said Thursday.

"My attorney, Andrea Mogensen, did tell me that in a conversation with the sheriff's office, they told her they received a tip concerning Pat," Jill Mullins said. "But I don't know what the nature of the tip might be and I don't think Andrea does either. They said they couldn't say because it's an open investigation."

Mullins added she is pleased the case has gone from inactive to an active one.

The tip followed Wednesday's news the sheriff's office has decided to conduct an internal review of its investigation into Mullins' death.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said Wednesday that detective Inspector Bud Johnson is conducting the review, along with a sheriff's sergeant.

Detective Darryl Davis, who conducted the initial investigation, is still assigned to the probe.

"I'm glad. I think it needs to be done," Mullins said Thursday of the decision to conduct an internal review.

Pat Mullins, 52, went missing Jan. 27 while testing a boat motor on the Braden River. His boat was found two days later and his body one week after that near Emerson Point in 4 feet of water strapped to a 25-pound boat anchor.

The cause of death was determined to be a shotgun blast to the head, although forensic experts could not determine if it was self-inflicted or fired by someone else.

Jill Mullins maintains her husband did not kill himself and retained Mogensen, a Sarasota attorney.

Mullins and her son, Miles, have asked the Florida De

partment of Law Enforcement, to re-examine the case, which the sheriff's office has rejected as an option.

The Mullins family is preparing for the Pat Mullins' Memorial Fund raiser to be held 1-6 p.m. Saturday at King Ranch, 4630 Caruso Road, Bradenton.

They have so far raised about $1,500 toward a reward for information about Mullins' death leading to a conviction, Jill Mullins said.

Mullins said she is buoyed by family and friends who also believe her husband's death was not a suicide.

"I absolutely feel Mr. Mullins' death was a homicide," said Fauna Perrin, who was a student in Jill Mullins' English class at Southeast High School, where Perrin graduated in 1992.

"I believe he came across some people doing something they shouldn't be doing," said Perrin, a massage therapist with Healing Hands who has donated 10 one-hour massages for a silent auction at Saturday's fund-raiser.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072. The twitter contact is @Richarddymond.

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