Details of Disappearance
Rhodes was last seen in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 22, 1988. He lived with Barry Block
in Drake Towers, an apartment building in the 1800 block of north Andrews Avenue. Both men vanished on that date and have never been heard from again. Rhodes's cellular phone and briefcase disappeared from their home at the same time they did, but they left the air conditioning on, as if they had intended to be back soon.
Curiously, Block and Rhodes are not the only residents of Drake Towers who have disappeared. Mark Jackson
, a 35-year-old marketing executive, disappeared from the building on June 27, 2004, sixteen years later.
There are some similarities between the Jackson and Rhodes/Block disappearances. All three men are gay, all of them left behind most of their belongings, they all disappeared in late June, and all of them were reportedly involved with drugs. (Jackson reportedly used crystal methamphetamine and other club drugs, and Block and Rhodes may have handled drug money for one of Rhodes's acquaintances.)
There is some speculation that Rhodes, Block and Jackson's disappearances are connected to the murder of Michael Wayne Wachholtz, the presumed murder of Jason Galehouse
, and the disappearances of James Shumaker
, Mark Thompson
and Bradley Williams
All of the men are gay, all were within roughly the same age group, and they all disappeared from the same area. Shumaker disappeared from Tampa in 1995. Thompson disappeared in 2001 from Clearwater, Florida, and his truck was later found abandoned in Tampa. Williams disappeared in from Tampa in 2001. Galehouse and Wachholtz disappeared from Tampa within a day of each other in December 2003. Wachholtz's body was found in mid-January 2004, but the other men remain missing.
Steven Lorenzo lived just across the street from Drake Towers. In May 2004, he and an accomplice were accused of drugging and killing Galehouse and Wachholtz. In January 2006, Lorenzo was sentenced to 200 years in prison for charges related to GHB, a "date rape" drug which causes people to become extremely drowsy and suggestible. His accomplice, Scott Paul Schweikert, was sentenced to 40 years in prison as an accessory after the fact in the GHB case. Photos of both Schweikert and Lorenzo are posted with this case summary.
In September 2012, Schweickert was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Wachholtz and Galehouse. In June 2016, he pleaded guilty to both murders and was sentenced to life in prison. This is on top of the 40 years he is already serving for the GHB-related charges. He admitted he and Lorenzo conspired to meet single gay men and turn them into "sex slaves", then either kill them or sell them once they became tired of them.
Schweickert stated he and Lorenzo met Galehouse at 2606 and convinced him to go back to Lorenzo's home for sex, then killed him together, dismembered his remains with an electric saw and dumped the parts in trash bins all over the city. They met Wachholtz at the same club the next night, spiked his drink with GHB and killed him.
Lorenzo has not been connected to Jackson's, Block's, and Rhodes's cases, but authorities are investigating a possible link due to the fact that he lived so close to where the men disappeared. He and Schweikert didn't become acquainted and form their conspiracy to drug and sexually abuse gay men until 2003, and investigators have stated that other than their lifestyles, there's no hard evidence to tie the other missing men to Lorenzo.
Rhodes and Block co-owned a boat they kept at a boatyard off the 17th Street Causeway; shortly after they disappeared, another co-owner sold the vessel. Their cases remain unsolved.