A neighbor had last seen John Michael Clark around 8:30 the morning of July 9. Clark was having coffee in the yard of the house at 30 Comanche Court in Palm Coast, where his boat was docked. He lived in his boat.
The afternoon of July 10, Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies found Clark, 47, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an apparent suicide carried out in his boat. He had locked his door.
The property owner at 30 Comanche had been trying to get hold of Clark for a few days. He’d checked on him Sunday. Clark had locked himself in. The property owner “could only hear mumbling from John,” within. The property owner returned Wednesday and noticed Clark seemingly unconscious on a couch or a bed inside. He called 911.
Clark was known to drink heavily, the landlord told a 911 dispatcher, but had shown no sign of wanting to hurt himself. He had no family locally: all are in California. (One 42-year-old family member who used to live on the boat as well, John Anthony Clark, is due to be released from Jefferson Correctional Institute in Monticello in mid-November. John Michael Clark had at first been mistaken for John Anthony in one of the earlier sheriff’s report, because there was no official documentation of his identity in the boat. But a photograph authorities later obtained confirmed John Michael’s actual identity, and a supplemental report corrected the error).
Investigators responded to the scene, establishing a crime scene around the dock–as is routine in such circumstances.
“I did not observe any signs of suspicious activity and there were no signs of foul play,” a sheriff’s deputy reported.
Dispatch notes indicate that a funeral home reported to the scene three hours after a paramedic pronounced Clark dead, but an incident report notes that the medical examiner removed the body to St. Augustine for an autopsy, as is usually the case in apparent suicides.
The sheriff’s office did not initially have information about the boat, but subsequently learned of its ownership (it was not Clark’s, but the homeowner’s).