Putnam County FL Jan 9 2015 Family members of a Putnam County security officer whose remains were found Thursday in a wooded area of Marion County near the Ocala National Forest — said they had steeled themselves for that outcome.
“Honestly after the first of the week we were not expecting him to show back up,” said Charles Parrish, whose brother, 46-year-old Floyd “Andy” Parrish Jr. of Interlachen, went missing after returning from a visit with family in Athens, Ga., over the holidays.
He said his brother’s tendency to call family and friends frequently and his dedication to work made any deviation in those routines a major concern.
“The thing that we worried about the most is that he would not be found,” Charles Parrish said.
The body was recovered by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office with help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
It was sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Leesburg for positive identification and to determine cause of death, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Investigators are not detailing exactly where the body was found or how they knew where to search, but an arrest has been made in the case on armed-burglary and auto-theft charges.
Richard Glenn Gertler, 52, also a security officer, of Keystone Heights is charged with stealing at least some of Andy Parrish’s extensive gun collection and his Ford Explorer.
Gertler met Parrish through their work as security officers and had been house-sitting after Parrish went away on Dec. 26. He told investigators Wednesday that he last saw Parrish about 7 p.m. on Jan. 2 and gave him $12,800 collected from selling the gun collection.
Gertler told detectives the only time he moved the Ford was to get it out of the way so he could leave Parrish’s house.
But now, police have charged him with stealing the SUV and taking it with another man about 60 miles north to a rural road east of Baldwin. He also is charged with armed burglary after Parrish’s suitcases, an empty holster and a gun case belonging to Parrish were found in the Explorer, according to the arrest report.
The SUV was found about 1 a.m. Saturday when a resident on Clifford Thomas Lane called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office after seeing a person drop it off then get into a truck with someone else and drive off.
A man also interviewed by Putnam County Wednesday said Gertler called him to Parrish’s house that Friday and the two men took the Explorer to Jacksonville and left it there.
Parrish, who worked as a security guard and had long collected guns, was known to carry weapons in the SUV, the report said. He had about 100 guns stored in a safe that Charles Parrish said included AK-47s and M-14s and 9mm handguns.
“He [Gertler] was living there for that week, living in the house and had access to everything,” Parrish said.
There were no changes in Gertler’s charges Thursday, and no one else had been arrested, said Sgt. Hancel Woods.
Woods said the death is being investigated as a homicide.
Parrish was initially reported missing by his brother in Athens on Sunday, two days after he vanished and after their last contact as he almost reached home. Athens police contacted the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, who went to the house where Parrish lived alone on Lakeview Court.
Gertler had been wanted for questioning after he was identified as Parrish’s house sitter.
In the initial missing-persons investigation by Athens police, investigators spoke with Gainesville police who were familiar with Parrish through his security work and said they had learned he wanted to sell the collection of guns and was asking for $50,000 but accepted a $28,000 deal.
Family members said reports that Parrish was selling his collection and that he was doing it to help a woman in Jacksonville were out of character. Charles Parrish said he believes the gun sale wasn’t something his brother would have ever permitted.
“I think the whole story of Andy wanting to sell his guns is just a cover story for the theft,” he said.