The body of a Cape Coral science teacher who was reported missing last July was recovered about a mile from her Bokeelia home Tuesday afternoon.
Lt. Larry King, public information officer with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, said Amy Patterson, 41, was found between 4-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21. Deputies, detectives and crime scene technicians searched the densely wooded area near Howard Road and Bahama Way in Bokeelia where they discovered and retrieved the remains.
The body was discovered after the Lee County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit received information on Tuesday concerning its location from Daniel Proctor, 45, the victim's boyfriend and ex-husband, officials said.
Amy Patterson and Daniel Proctor
Her body was identified through dental records Thursday, Aug. 23. The cause of death has yet to be determined and will require further forensic analysis, officials said.
Patterson's co-workers are now dealing with confirmation of her death.
"Lee County Public Schools is deeply saddened by the loss of former Mariner Middle School science teacher Amy Patterson," the district said in a prepared statement issued Thursday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this tragic time."
The prepared statement indicated that although Patterson was with the district for only a short time, she proved to be a dedicated professional and her love of science and teaching were evident from the first day.
"She was the kind of person you look for when hiring a new teacher and she will be missed by the Mariner Middle School Family," the school district said in the statement.
Counselors are ready to work with students and staff and will be available if they are needed, officials said.
"The District would like to take this opportunity thank the members of the law enforcement community who placed a high priority on this situation," the statement reads. "Their tireless efforts are greatly appreciated."
Proctor was a suspect in the disappearance of Patterson, who was reported missing July 25, 2011 when she did not show up for the start of the school year.
Detectives feared she was the victim of a domestic homicide.
Proctor had reportedly fled in her vehicle, which was recovered in Alabama. He stole another vehicle, a 1997 Ford Explorer, and a .380 handgun before leaving a note indicating that he may have been heading back to Florida.
Proctor was apprehended in Okeechobee on Sept. 5, 2011. He was sleeping in a stolen vehicle, at 3:45 a.m., when members of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force approached him in a hotel parking lot. He was taken into custody without further incident and transported back to Lee County where he remained until extradited to Alabama on a warrant for grand theft auto and theft of a firearm.
Lee County Sheriff's Office detectives had been in Alabama to testify in that trial, which resulted on convictions on both charges.
He had not been charged in connection with Patterson's disappearance.
Patterson's family could not be reached for comment.