by Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN News
LAKE CITY, FL — After he was reported missing by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office on December 20, 34-year-old Fil-Am Joshua “Josh” Keith Tabares, a resident of Lake City, Florida, was found dead on Christmas Day inside a fence of a cellphone tower of neighboring Suwannee County.
“This is really a very tragic outcome to a missing persons investigation we conducted,” said Officer Murray Smith, PIO of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
It was a devastating closure for family, coworkers and friends, who have been praying they would once again see Tabares.
The Fil-Am was “everybody’s sunshine” with a vibrant smile, as described by his manager at Fairfield Inn & Suites, where he worked for more than ten years.
Tabares was last seen on the 17th, and was reported missing on the 20th, according to the sheriff’s office.
His sister reported that she last saw Tabares as she was pulling into their driveway at home. He was leaving in his 2006 grey Mini Cooper, with a Philippine flag hanging from its rear view mirror. He told her he was going out to have drinks with a friend.
Officer Smith says that a passerby noticed his vehicle parked on the side of the road in Suwannee County, but at the time didn’t realize that it was a missing person’s vehicle. It was only after two days that he alerted the authorities.
Tabares suffered from trauma to his head. Officials are working to learn his cause of death.
“It looks like as he climbed the fence, he may have lost his footing and fell. That’s what it looks like,” said Smith.
His wallet was also missing when his body was found.
A friend, Kyle Green, is raising money for Tabares’ funeral expenses on a GoFundMe page.