LAKE MARY, Fla. - A Central Florida pilot vanished in September 2012. Investigators tried tracking him down but lost his plane and his phone’s signal somewhere in Marion County.
The last time anyone heard from 63-year-old Michael Sills was in a voicemail he left his ex-girlfriend. "I never cheated with any of those people… None of those people can say I did. I love you… Bye," the voicemail said.
Detective David Clarke remembers getting the case. It started with a call from Sills’ ex on September 11, 2012. The police report stated she received text messages in which he said, in part, "in airplane," and "calling police is too late."
Police said Sills had threatened to kill himself in his plane or to crash into his ex-girlfriend’s house.
"The first thing was, to locate Mr. Sills, he had an airplane hangar in Apopka off Orange Blossom Trail," explained Det. Clarke. "Once entrance was made into the hangar, we discovered Mr. Sills car inside… Inside Mr. Sills’ car there was some blood… there was indications that he had attempted to take his own life but had second thoughts."
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Those indications included a letter. The police report says officers found a disposable blade from a razor knife, red-stained towels, and a partial roll of silver duct tape. There was also a notepad and on it, a note read, "… I never cheated with any of those people."
His airplane, a Piper Archer aircraft, was missing. The search started with the help of the FAA. Investigators were able to trace his cell phone to Belleview, Florida. That’s where the phone actually shut off service.
The phone didn’t provide exact coordinates. His tail number was flagged, but there’s no record of it ever landing. Det. Clarke says Sills had five hours of fuel, but police don’t know where he was headed and if he ever made it, alive.
"It’s an old case, I don’t believe in cold cases. I’m hoping someone at some point will come across the airplane," said Det. Clarke.