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The Villages
Friday, January 21, 2022

Sumter sheriff’s detectives launch homicide probe after body of Winter Garden man found in Royal

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a homicide investigation in the Royal area of Wildwood.

The sheriff’s office received a call Saturday at about 7:36 a.m. about a body in the yard of a home in the 9900 block of County Road 231. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the body of 61-year-old Michael Majed Kotait, of Winter Garden. The cause of Kotait’s death hasn’t been confirmed by the Medical Examiner, but he is the apparent victim of homicidal violence, a sheriff’s office report states.

Detectives are working to identify anyone Kotait associated with in the area so they can establish a motive for his murder. It is unclear why Kotait was in the area, the report says.

Just prior to receiving the report of Kotait’s body being discovered, Wildwood Police officers were notified of a vehicle submerged in the water at the Lake Deaton Boat Ramp at 5300 County Road 155. The unoccupied white Honda SUV was registered to Kotait and the Wildwood Police Department turned its portion of the investigation over to the sheriff’s office.

Detectives will be following up leads and conducting interviews with associates and potential witnesses, as the case is ongoing. Anyone with information about the homicide or Kotait is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (352) 793-2621. To make an anonymous tip, contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).

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