Heather Rose Strickland, 34, was found dead in bedding and a trash bag off the coast of Florida. Her disturbing death has drawn the attention of federal investigators.
“We love her very much,” said her father, John Strickland. “She was a kind person. She had some problems with mental illness, but she was a kind person, and no person deserves that.”
“I think the hardest thing is the way she was thrown out,” her stepmother, Sherrie Strickland, told the Tampa Bay Times. “She was a person.”
Floating off the coast of Egmont Key, an island park in Pinellas County, Florida, Heather was found by federal investigators.
“The United States Coast Guard received a call shortly before noon on Saturday, December 10, 2022, from a group of fishermen who discovered the body 13 miles off the coast of Pinellas County, Florida,” according to the FBI. “The body was found wrapped in bedding in a plastic trash bag.”
Authorities are awaiting the toxicology report to determine the cause of death.
The last time Heather Rose Strickland was seen was Dec. 5 as she left the HCA Florida Largo Hospital at 201 14th Street Southwest in Largo, Florida.
“Originally from the North Florida region, Strickland spent the last five years in the Clearwater-St. Petersburg area,” FBI officials said.
Pinellas County includes the cities of Largo, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg.
Heather has been struggling with mental illness for a long time, according to John and Sherrie. The situation worsened over time. According to them, she also became addicted to drugs.
“One day she would act like she was 6 years old, and the next day she was on top of her game,” John said.
Sherrie last spoke with her stepdaughter several weeks ago. She said Heather was in a mental hospital in Key Largo. Sherrie said she urged Heather to move to the area around Lake City, in Columbia County, where she lives with John.
Investigators are looking for anyone with information that can help them determine what led to Heather Rose Strickland’s death.