Twenty-one years earlier, almost to the day, Melody gave birth to a beautiful 7 pound boy whom she named Joshua. Joshua Whittier was found dead at 6:30 A.M. on February 18, 2007, in Navarre Beach, Florida. His body was lying face down in the sand at the water’s edge near Juana’s Pagoda Bar. His chin, knees and wrists were scraped as if he had been dragged there. A pack of (dry) cigarettes and a bottle of Corona beer were close by. His wallet, that earlier had contained $900 from a newly cashed paycheck stub, was found up the beach.
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff ‘s Office refused to investigate further. The case was shut when the ruling in the summary cases notes was officially entered; death by accidental drowning. They speculate that Josh, who had been drinking heavily, walked out to the end of the pier and fell into the water. If Josh had fallen off the pier, the tides and fierce winds would have swept his body in the opposite direction from where it was found. The cigarettes and the beer bottle would not have been next to him, and there would not have been wounds on those particular areas of his body. The autopsy report makes no mention of water in his lungs, they were clear.
Two witnesses who were physically present there when police found Josh’s body have stated that Josh wasn’t even in the water. Investigators refused to interview the witnesses. They say his clothes were not wet, just damp from the sea wind, and there was a drag mark in the sand, that indicated he may have been dragged to the place where he was found. Joshua was dragged by his feet, his shirt and jacket had ridden up over his head. The cell phone in his jacket pocket was working perfectly, still receiving calls close to the time of death.
Two weeks prior Joshua signed with Ford Models of Miami and spent three weeks there putting together his modeling portfolio. He then got a job in Gulfport, Mississippi doing construction work. He came home to Navarre on weekends, and this particular weekend was a special one, as he’d just turned twenty-one. Joshua decided to spend Mardi Gras weekend partying with friends.
Josh and his companions started their drinking spree at 12:30 P.M. on February 17 and continued on into the early hours of the next morning.
At 3:30 A.M., a woman and her husband, who were delivering newspapers to Juana’s Pagoda, were startled when two men suddenly stepped out from under the Tiki style roof. The couple became nervous and got into their car and drove off. When David Craig of “Reality News” showed this woman pictures of Josh’s companions that evening, she identified one of the men she had seen on the beach. She had not seen the second man well enough to recognize him.
Melody contacted the medical exaiminer Dr. Andrea Minyard, informing her she suspected foul play. Minyard suspected that Josh had been held down and suffocated, she had taken nasal swabs, which she’d sent to a lab to determine if Josh’s nose was filled with sand.
In the report she filed three months later, Dr. Minyard called the manner of death “accidental drowning.” She also had the toxicologist at the University of West Florida destroy the nasal swabs, because, according to her, they weren’t labeled properly. And she was standing by her decision, period.
The Sheriff’s Department released Josh’s belongings to the family prematurely. Those items included his clothes and cell phone. On the front of Josh’s pants there is a blood stain. There’s no mention of that stain in police reports or in the ME’s report. There were no wounds on Josh’s body to coincide with that blood stain. And the bloody stained ball cap and sweater he was wearing have vanished.
But, no one has yet to interview the handful of key witnesses for which sworn notorized statements have been taken. The medical exaiminer's office has not reversed the ruling from "accidential drowning" to murder, even though Joshua's lungs contained no water. Ask where the information from the cell phone records or testing of the blood on the sweater, cap and pants are?