Details of Disappearance
Wood moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Ohio in the late 1990s. She was employed as an office manager at Lighthouse Point Marina. Wood met her boyfriend, John L. Paul Sr., in August or October 1999. Paul was part of an established father and son car racing team, as well as a former financial consultant. He owned a 55-foot sailboat and planned to embark on a five-year sailing tour around the world with Wood.
She moved on to Paul's boat shortly after selling her condominium and quitting her job. He renamed the vessel The Diamond Girl (she was originally named The Island Girl) in early 2000. Paul's photo and images of the craft are posted with this case summary.
Wood was last seen sometime during mid-December 2000. She called her son in Ohio on December 3 and said that she and Paul were planning to depart on their trip within a few weeks. One of Wood's friends invited her to a holiday party on December 13. The friend said that Wood was in Key West, Florida at the time of their conversation. She was reportedly in good spirits. Wood has never been heard from again.
Wood's family reported her as a missing person to Florida authorities in April 2001. Her cellular phone service had been canceled sometime beforehand. Investigators spoke with Paul in May 2001. He initially cooperated with the case. He was never charged in connection with Wood's disappearance.
Her family became concerned for her safety after learning about Paul's past in 2001. He pleaded guilty to shooting a business associate in Florida in the early 1980s. Paul had also been sentenced to 20 years in prison for smuggling marijuana into the United States. He was released in 1992. Wood's loved ones stated that she would have been upset if she had learned of Paul's history.
Paul told authorities that he and Wood had a financial argument in mid-December 2000. (Some agencies may list her date of disappearance as December 28, 2000). He said that she left the boat, then returned with two men to remove her belongings.
Wood's son claimed that Paul allegedly told his daughter that Wood was angered over a situation with his previous girlfriend and terminated their relationship. Paul also allegedly told Wood's son the same scenario he offered to officials regarding her disappearance.
Paul reportedly departed from the Fort Lauderdale area during the summer of 2001 on his boat. Authorities stated that he is not a suspect in Wood's case, but they would like to question him again regarding her disappearance.
Authorities discovered that approximately $38,000 had been withdrawn from Wood's bank account through an ATM in Fort Lauderdale between December 2000 and February 2001. It is not believed that Wood withdrew the money herself.
Two advertisements were placed in a Florida newspaper and purchased with Wood's credit card in December 2001. One of the ads was a job announcement for a first mate aboard a boat; the other was a personal ad from a male seeking a female. Investigators determined that an unidentified man purchased the ads in Wood's name shortly beforehand.
Her case remains unsolved.