48 HOURS and Richard Schlesinger have the latest twist in the strange case of a missing duck hunter in Florida, said to have been eaten by alligators nearly two decades ago, and the investigation that led police to those who allegedly knew what happened. 48 HOURS was there for the trial and the stunning conclusion of the bizarre story in an updated edition of “Cold-Blooded Killer” to be broadcast Saturday, Dec. 22 (10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
It’s a case that tests the imagination of man over reptile, tests human relationships, and tests the will of a mother who never gave up hope of finding her lost son.
Mike Williams, 31, left home to go duck hunting on Lake Seminole in Florida on Dec. 16, 2000. His wife, Denise, said he set out early and promised to be back by noon so they could celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary that evening. When he didn’t return home, Denise started calling around looking for him. Six hours later, a massive search was underway. The search was called off after 44 days. Williams was listed as “still missing.” Some wondered if he’d just run off. Then another explanation was offered – he was eaten by an alligator.
Six months after he went missing, a local fisherman found a pair of waders in Lake Seminole. And two days later, Williams’ fishing jacket, his hunting license and a flashlight were found at the same spot.
Williams’ mother, Cheryl Williams, never believed her son was eaten by alligators or died by accident. Her mother’s intuition told her something bad had happened, and she was determined not to give up until someone took her seriously. She compiled 27 pages of notes and evidence and wrote the governor of Florida every day for years. She contacted wildlife experts who told her alligators do not feed in cold winter months.
Schlesinger and 48 HOURS investigated Williams’ disappearance and the search for answers, and how his mother would have to wait 18 years after her son went missing to finally get justice.
48 HOURS: “Cold-Blooded Killer” is produced by Josh Gelman and Jaime Hellman. Marc Goldbaum is the development producer. Mike Vele, Joan Adelman, Gary Winter, Greg Kaplan and Phil Tangel are the editors. Judy Tygard and Peter Schweitzer are the senior producers. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.