“I think the hardest thing is the way she was thrown out,” stepmother Sherrie Strickland told The Tampa Bay Times. “She was a person.”
Somehow, Heather Rose Strickland, 34, wound up dead in bedding and a trash bag off the coast of Florida. Federal investigators want to solve the mystery of her disturbing passing.
“We love her very much,” her father John Strickland told WFLA. “She was a kind person. She had some problems with mental illness, but she was a kind person, and no person deserves that.”
Heather was found floating off the coast of Egmont Key, an island park in Pinellas County, Florida, federal investigators said.
“The United States Coast Guard received a call shortly before noon on Saturday, December 10, 2022, from a group of fishermen who discovered the body 13 miles off the coast of Pinellas County, Florida,” the FBI said. “The body was found wrapped in bedding in a plastic trash bag.”
The cause of death is reportedly pending as authorities wait for the results of the toxicology report.
Heather Rose Strickland was last seen Dec. 5 leaving HCA Florida Largo Hospital at 201 14th Street Southwest in Largo, Florida, authorities said.
“Originally from the North Florida region, Strickland spent the last five years in the Clearwater-St. Petersburg area,” the FBI said.
Largo, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg are each part of Pinellas County.
John and Sherrie described Heather as experiencing long-term struggles with mental illness. Things got worse over time. She also became addicted to drugs, they said.
“One day she would act like she was 6 years old, and the next day she was on top of her game,” John told the Times.
Sherrie said she last spoke to her stepdaughter several weeks ago. Heather was in a mental hospital in Key Largo, she said. Sherrie said she urged Heather to come to the area of Lake City, where she and John live up in Columbia County, Florida.
Federal investigators are asking anyone with information that can help them determine what led up to Heather Rose Strickland dying.
From the FBI:
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the FBI’s Tampa Field Office at (813) 253-1000. You may also contact your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or you can submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
[Image via FBI]
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