Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 7 recap – did Patrick Mullins commit suicide?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 1, 2022 (Last updated: March 6, 2023)
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Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 7 recap - did Patrick Mullins commit suicide?


Unsolved Mysteries once again delivers a compelling “murder or suicide” conundrum in the tragic case of Patrick Mullins, though the evidence here seems to clearly suggest foul play.

This recap of Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 7, “Body in the Bay”, contains spoilers.

In its seventh episode, Unsolved Mysteries Season 3 returns to an already-familiar well – suicide, or murder? Like the season premiere, “Body in the Bay” unspools the details of a mysterious death that was ruled as a suicide despite the circumstances and evidence suggesting the exact opposite. This is a more compelling case, though, with much more grounds for suspicion, so it’s likely it’ll attract a fair amount of attention from internet sleuths.

Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 7 recap

The case involves the sudden and still-unexplained passing of Patrick Mullins in 2013, a native of Manatee County, Florida, who went out in his little river boat one night and never returned. The opening of the episode does a good job of laying out the particulars and giving us a sense of Patrick’s life and personality before complicating the mystery as it goes, eventually settling on a suspect towards the end.

There’s nothing to suggest that 52-year-old Mullins, a placid former schoolteacher and librarian, would have taken his own life. He had plans for the future, a loving family, a job, and hobbies. He was also a man of routine and order, so his disappearance was noticed quickly, and many aspects of it were considered deeply suspicious.

Patrick’s boat was found first. Then, nine days later, his body followed, tied to an anchor, partially decomposed, and showing signs of a close-range but non-contact shotgun blast to the head. The idea was that he tied himself up, sat on the edge of the boat, shot himself, and then toppled back into the water, but the logistics of doing so seem so unlikely as to be almost impossible.

Nevertheless, the authorities were quick to settle on suicide, and by all accounts pushed the family to agree. And yet so much was off. Patrick didn’t own a shotgun, or any gun, and there was no record of him having purchased one. He didn’t favor the type of knots used to bind him. And there was zero trace evidence in the boat, which you’d imagine there would be had a man been shot in it.

While his body was floating in the water, Patrick was left entirely alone by marine scavengers, despite there being all kinds in the area. Everything about the case suggests he was killed elsewhere and then dumped.

“Body in the Bay” suggests that perhaps a chance encounter led to Patrick’s demise. He was the type of guy to stop and offer someone assistance, and he could have stumbled on the wrong thing given the area’s viability as, say, a smuggling route. But the episode eventually settles on a real suspect in the form of family friend Damon Crestwood, who became increasingly erratic after Patrick’s death, tied knots like the ones used to bind Patrick, lived near where Patrick’s boat was found, and owned a boat himself with a red paint job that could have left the tell-tale red streaks that were found on the side of Patrick’s own vessel. None of this was ever proved, though, due to Damon’s own death in 2017.

The tragic demise of Patrick Mullins remains open but dormant at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

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