A Port Charlotte man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after a September homicide investigation in North Port.
While Southwest Florida was preparing for Hurricane Ian, police in North Port believe Michael Douglas had revenge on his mind. Detectives say he raped and stabbed a woman 38 times, killing her.
“When you have someone who’s violently attacked like this, and it is gruesome,” said Josh Taylor, with the North Port Police Department.
The victim wasn’t just any woman. “You get a pretty good indication that this is possibly a crime of passion,” said Taylor.
It was the woman Douglas said he loved.
“I still have chills right now because I was like in shock that that would be the guy that does something sinister,” said Tyler Starr, who knew Michael Douglas.
On September 26, two days before the hurricane made landfall, North Port police found a storm of blood at a house on Haberland Boulevard.
A neighbor said the victim’s daughter called 911.
Detectives haven’t released the victim’s name, but they want everyone to see pictures of her suspected killer.
“I recognized the guy, and I asked Cindy. I said this guy delivered our DoorDash, at least 20 times! We had him all the time,” said Starr.
Starr knew Douglas because Douglas was a DoorDash delivery driver. Their conversations were frequent, at least once a week. Douglas even became familiar with how much the family tipped him.
“He thanked me. He’s like, ‘thank you so much. I’m going through hard times, and this money that you’re giving me is helping me do this, and that,’ and I was probably helping fund him stalk a lady that he was gonna kill,” said Starr.
There was no way Starr could have seen the murder coming. “He just didn’t come across as one of those guys that would be demonic.”
Douglas had no criminal record before the killing. North Port police said this came out of nowhere but said they have evidence the relationship between Douglas and the victim was deteriorating.
“What this may have been revolving around was our suspect wanting more of a relationship,” said Taylor. “Understanding who was in our victim’s life was very important.”
Police say a dying relationship led Douglas to end the victim’s life. The life of a woman he said loved.
“Our victim helped us in this situation because the DNA that was found on her and under her nails and that sort of thing fighting back,” Taylor said. “The one thing that’s helpful in these situations.”
The nature of the crime gave the cops their lead.
“Typically, when something like this is done, you get a pretty good indication that this was a crime of passion. Probably not a random act, robbery gone wrong, something like this. This is somebody who’s very upset,” said Taylor.
What we don’t realize is that the people who witness our relationships might know the most about us. The victim’s daughter helped police find the man who is suspected of killing her mother.
“The victim’s daughter being able to tell us what she talks to this person, this person, this person that really speeds things up,” said Taylor.
WINK News knocked on the daughter’s door, but she did not answer.