Family members arrested in connection with murder of man found dead on Florida vacation

November 07, 2023

Fifty-two-year-old David Rainey went missing on July 25, 2021,while on a family vacation, in Suwannee, Florida with his wife, two sons, and a friend of the family.

David was born in California, but lived in Palm Coast, Florida, with his wife and kids. He graduated from Schenectady Welding School, in New York and went onto work for Pro Mac Engineering as a welder and mechanic on steam and gas turbines in his home state soon after. He was athletic and had been throughout his school years, something his sons, Jack, and Bailey, had in common. David enjoyed traveling around the states with his family and he also travelled for work, both domestically and internationally. 

Friends described him as hard working, with a great work ethic.

He had been married to Cindy for 21 years in 2021.

Suwannee, where the family were vacationing at the time David went missing, is over 430 miles from the family’s home on the Palm Coast. Suwannee is a small fishing village with a population of around 300. Due to its geographic location off the Gulf of Mexico, it is popular for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, and is a small and peaceful getaway for domestic vacations. 

David was reported missing to police by his wife, Cindy. She told police that the victim had stormed out of the vacation home after an argument and never returned. The content of the argument has not been reported.

He had neglected to take his cell phone, wallet and even eyeglasses with him. The lack of preparation in David’s disappearance suggested that he had not planned on leaving for an extended amount of time. The fact that he had left behind important personal affects was worrying. 

Mr. Rainey's body was discovered a few hours later during an extensive search by investigators from the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office, in a small canal located behind the Suwannee vacation home the family had been staying at. He had multiple stab wounds to his upper body, mostly located to the chest, and had been submerged in the water.

His death was ruled a homicide and an investigation was launched.

Despite reaching out to the public for tips and putting out statements about the homicide, police were unable to identify any suspects in Mr. Rainey’s murder. The investigation could not advance and went cold for two years. 

Following the death of their father, a GoFundMe was set up by Bailey & Jack, asking for "charitable donations" for their future. The campaign generated around $475 in total.

Two years later, on October 25, 2023, Both Bailey, Jack and their mother, Cindy, were arrested for “tampering with evidence” in connection with David Rainey’s death.

Cindy Rainey, 49, and Bailey Rainey, 21 were arrested in Bunnell, Flagler County, and are currently being held at the Flagler County jail. Jack Rainey, 19, was arrested in Orlando, O.C. and is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail. The three appear sullen in their mugshots.

It has not yet been revealed if any of the three are suspected of murdering the family patriarch and the Sheriff’s office has not confirmed either way. Possible motives are currently unknown; however, all three suspects are currently being held without bond.

In legal terms, tampering with evidence involves an individual concealing, destroying, or altering evidence while being aware of an ongoing investigation into a crime. It is considered a third degree felony and “is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and $5,000 in fines.

Under Florida Statute 918.13, the crime of Tampering with Evidence is committed when a person, knowing that a criminal trial, proceeding, or law enforcement investigation is pending or instituted, either: Alters, destroys, conceals, or removes any record, document, or thing with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in such trial, proceeding or investigation; or Knowingly creates, presents, or uses any false record, document, or thing. (source)

News of David Rainey’s wife of two decades and his own sons being arrested in connection with his murder has shocked those following the case, and speculation as to why the family would tamper with evidence in the death of their husband and father is being discussed in the comments sections of social media users online, with some debating whether domestic violence was present in the household and others who knew the victim and family in person expressing their shock and disbelief.

At the time of writing, no further information has been released. The case is ongoing and will be updated.

Sources: [X][X][X][X]


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