Crime

No charges filed in 'suspicious death' of wife after fight near Anna Maria Island

MANATEE -- Charges will not be filed against the husband of a woman who died three days after hitting her head against a Sea-Doo watercraft during an argument.

On July 13, Michael, 50, and Pamela Doster, 45, of Land O' Lakes, had been riding Sea-Doos near the Passage Key sandbar north of Anna Maria Island. She told investigators she later saw her husband engage in sexual activity with another man, which started a fight.

Wearing only life jackets, the highly intoxicated couple argued, according to investigator reports, and he pulled her off the watercraft by the hair several times. She told first-responders he slammed her head against the watercraft the last time he dragged her off the Sea-Doo.

Michael Doster was charged with domestic battery after the couple was taken to Anna Maria Island after the argument.

Pamela Doster was taken to Blake Medical Center. At the hospital, her leg was scanned but not her head, the memo said. The sheriff's office photographed the bruise on the left side of her head.

She was taken to a domestic violence shelter when released. Paramedics were called just before 2 p.m. July 14, the day after the fight, when she became disoriented and started to vomit. Unable to talk to paramedics , she was taken to Manatee Memorial where she ultimately died from swelling of the brain.

The charges were declined in October by the State Attorney's Office because officials said it could not be proven in court Doster intentionally pushed his wife's head against the watercraft and could not disprove his explanation she fell.

"We did everything we could to try and get justice," said Manatee County Sheriff's Office detective John Kenney, lead on the case. "Unfortunately we couldn't find it."

The case was challenging because investigators could not locate any witnesses or the man Pamela Doster said had been with her husband.

Another challenge: Statements made to deputies by Pamela Doster about her husband hitting her head against the watercraft were inadmissible at trial because they were not a "dying declaration" because she did not know she was dying.

Michael Doster is a convicted felon in Florida. In 1988, he was charged with possession of a concealed firearm and later sentenced to two years probation. Probation conditions were altered to include 10 hours community service after he violated probation.

Doster's criminal history includes domestic assault in Tennessee where he met his fourth wife.

Once Doster was arrested, investigators had 175 days from the time of his arrest to bring additional charges. The deadline expired earlier this month forcing the State Attorney's Office decision. The sheriff's office case will now be closed, Kenney said.

Doster's father, Ron Searcy, told Kenney he wanted justice for his daughter.

"In life you reap what you sow," Searcy said. "From what everyone tells me, if he is drinking as much whiskey as they say, he isn't going to last more than five years and he will die miserable."

The grieving father isn't happy with the outcome, but said he is satisfied.

"I am going to leave it to the man upstairs to take care of Mike Doster," Searcy said. "I feel certain he'll reap what he sows."

Pamela Doster's four children from a previous marriage are doing well, he said.

"I have a very good ex-son-in-law," Searcy said. "He is really taking care of those kids."

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 9451-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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