A Golden Gate Estates man has been arrested and faces a second-degree murder charge after a body was discovered buried on his property.
On Thursday, Collier County Sheriff’s detectives were given information on a Collier County man who had previously been reported missing by a relative.
A witness told detectives that Michael Allen Pritchard, 35, confessed to having shot the missing man, who is described as disabled, and to burying his body next to his house.
Detectives searched Pritchard’s home and surrounding property on 10th Avenue NE, where they discovered the body of the missing man buried in a shallow grave near the home, as described by the witness.
CCSO is not releasing Pritchard’s address because it could identify the victim, whose identity is protected under Marsy’s Law, a voter-approved amendment to Florida’s constitution that protects victims of crime.
According to an arrest report for Pritchard, the victim was a tenant of Pritchard’s who paid to live in the home.
The arrest report also mistakenly states that Pritchard is an employee of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, but a spokeswoman said, “for clarification, the suspect does not work at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (and never has). The employment information was entered erroneously on this report.”
Pritchard, who “has a history of erratic and violent behavior,” told witnesses he shot the man because “he caught him masturbating into Pritchard’s girlfriend’s underwear,” according to the arrest report.
Neighbors in the area say they were scared of Pritchard and that deputies were at his home often.
They worried something was wrong in the neighborhood after deputies showed up Wednesday night.
“I heard them say this is Collier County Sheriff’s Department got a warrant for you,” said neighbor Linda Craft. “I stayed up until about 12:30 and right before I went to bed I heard them say OK I want you to come out one by one with your hands up in the air.”
On Thursday morning, one man said he saw crime scene units outside with caution tape up.
Fred Bradshaw, a Golden Gate Estates resident, said the home was barricaded.
“I heard a guy on commands giving commands to someone because you can hear it as clear as day, get on the ground, don’t move,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw said Pritchard used to be friendly but after his dad died earlier this year, his demeanor changed.
“He was different like humble, quieter, didn’t really talk much,” Bradshaw said. “He stopped coming by.”
“I hope he stays there. I hope he goes to prison for life because he took a life,” Craft said.
The victim’s brother got emotional and said he’s hurt. When he arrived at Pritchard’s home the day after Thanksgiving, his brother wasn’t there. He thought his brother was with another relative or in a shelter.
Pritchard was placed under arrest around 7:30 a.m. on Friday. He was transported to the Collier County jail.
Read the arrest report below.