doc martens original JSO releases interrogation video of suspect in Bonefish grill waitress
Video released by the State Attorney’s office Thursday shows JSO detectives grilling Jacksonville restaurant manager Lee Rodarte following the disappearance of waitress Savannah Gold.
Gold was reported missing on August 2 after she did not show up to her evening shift at Bonefish Grill on San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville.
On August 4, Rodarte along with Gold’s other co workers were questioned by police about the 21 year old’s possible whereabouts. Several days later, JSO said Rodarte was being charged with Gold’s murder after confessing to the crime and leading police to her body.
In the interrogation room video spanning four hours, Rodarte appears calm and collected as he waits alone for detectives to return.
He was being held on a traffic violation but detectives told him they needed to question him again about Gold’s disappearance.
After being read his Miranda rights, Rodarte said he had known Gold for eight months when she began working at Bonefish. He said the two started a relationship outside of work after he broke up with an ex girlfriend. The relationship lasted two to three months, Rodarte explained, then he decided to reconcile things with his ex.
“I told her, I think we should stop talking. [Gold] said I understand, it’s completely fine, I’ll delete your number and I’ll never text you again,” he said.
Rodarte then admitted lying to detectives on August 4 when they first interviewed him about the case. He told him he had not seen Gold in two or three weeks.
“The last time [I saw her was August 2], I think. I heard that she has been telling a lot of people at work that we hooked up a bunch. A couple days before that she was going to tell about the whole situation and get me fire,” Rodarte told detectives. “I’m a manager and she’s an employee, we’re not supposed to fraternize.”
In the interrogation video, Rodarte told detectives he waited for Gold in the restaurant parking lot to ‘talk to her’ about the rumors at work.
WARNING: Video contains profanity.
“So basically, you told her to leave you alone, it was jeopardizing your job?” a detective asked.
Rodarte responded that Gold refused his request and told him she would keep doing whatever she wanted. He also said Gold’s comments were complicating things with his girlfriend, Chelsea
“Me and Chelsea would argue all the time about me not telling Savannah [to cut off thing],” Rodarte said.
During the interview detectives asked Rodarte about wounds on his neck and forearm that he claimed were self inflicted.
Rodarte went on to explain that after the argument with Gold, she got out of his car and walked down the street to get into a green Ford pick up.
Detectives confronted Rodarte with details from the surveillance camera video that captured Gold getting into Rodarte’s car and never exiting.
Rodarte changed his story, admitting he left with Gold to do drugs and then Gold left his home via Uber.
“[Gold] kicked open the door [to your car] three times, what happened in that backseat?” one of the detectives asked.
After over an hour of interrogation, the suspect appears to break down while detectives prod him to reveal where Gold is.
Confessions are exempt from open records laws under Florida Statute 199.071(2)e according to the State Attorney’s office and portions of the released video were redacted.
Detectives could be seen exiting the room after the interrogation. Photos were taken of Rodarte’s neck and arm wounds. While alone in the room, he can be heard sobbing and faintly saying “I’m sorry, Savannah.”