Charlotte County cold case unit working to bring justice to families

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. It took nearly two decades to catch a 3-year-old toddler’s killer.

A Charlotte County jury convicted Keith Wilson, 46, on Oct. 18 of second-degree murder in the 1999 death of Pilar Rodriguez, whose body was never found.

Wilson’s conviction means another case solved by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit.

“We want to send the message that first of all, we’re not stopping ever,” detective Michael Vogel said.

But detectives believe their work is not over until Pilar’s father gets complete closure.

“He’s still hurting and looking for his baby,” detective Kurt Mehl said. “As far as trying to recover the body, that will continue until the time that we find her.”

In the meantime, detectives are working to bring justice to the families of two other victims.

Sharon Gil was stabbed to death in 1990 in her Deep Creek home, detectives said. It’s possible the victim knew her killer.

Gil’s teenage daughter found her body when she came home from school, detectives said.

Investigators are also working leads in the 2001 murder of Vikki Arena whose body was found in a wooded area off of Bermont Road, four days after her mother reported her missing.

“As long as the three of us are still breathing, we’ll be investigating these cold cases and the people that committed these crimes are not going to be able to rest,” Vogel said.

Anyone with information on these cold cases is asked to call the Charlotte County Cold Case Unit at 341-575-5361.

“There are people out there that know things about these cases,” detective Michael Gandy said.