Leesburg – A missing person report was issued for 84-year-old Bernadine Montgomery by Leesburg Police on June 23. Montgomery was last seen at her home in Leesburg on June 15.
During the investigation, Montgomery’s vehicle was found abandoned at a nearby park. Later that day, officers arrested Jeremy David Gentry, 43, charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle in connection with the investigation. Gentry is still being held at the Lake County Jail without bond, however, no further charges have been filed.
Though Gentry has not been charged directly with the involvement of Montgomery’s disappearance, it is suspected that he is part of a large scam involving his employer, All About Water and Solar, which targetted numerous victims, including Montgomery, according to a report from the Daily Commercial.
Officers from the Leesburg Police Department along with Deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department continued their search for Montgomery using dive teams and cadaver dogs but were unable to locate her.
After interviewing multiple people and gathering evidence, the investigation showed signs of suspicious activity.
“As a result of the evidence and information gathered through the investigative process, detectives are re-classifying the Bernadine Montgomery case from a missing person to an open homicide investigation,” Lt. Joe Iozzi of the Leesburg Police stated in an email. “Detectives have been searching multiple undisclosed locations in attempts to recover Ms. Montgomery, and they will continue to interview persons of interest in order to identify and locate the person or persons responsible for her death.”
Police ask that anyone with information related to the Montgomery case to call Leesburg Police at (352)728-9862 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477. All callers can remain anonymous.
The Central Florida Wire will continue to provide updates on this case as they become available.