JACKSONVILLE, Fla.. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has opened an internal affairs investigation into officers’ actions on the night retired NFL player Louis Nix III was last heard from, multiple sources have told News4Jax.
The missing person report quoted Nix’s girlfriend, who said she was talking on the phone with Nix at 7:57 p.m. Feb. 23 when he told her he was driving to her apartment on Broxton Bay Drive. He never made it. His SUV and body were found in a pond at the complex four days later on Feb. 27.
News4Jax has obtained a supplemental report that indicates JSO got a 911 call at 8:07 p.m. Feb. 23 from a witness, who told dispatch that she’d driven past that pond and “seen lights in the water and heard splashing.” According to the report, “JSO units arrived on the scene within three minutes and a search of the area for a vehicle or driver were met with negative results.”
“If they would have gotten him alive or just gotten him that day, that would have helped give us some kind of closure for us to sleep at night,” said Stephanie Wingfield, Nix’s mother. “Four days with no sleep, four days with worrying, so that would have eased some of that pain.”
The report does not say how long officers searched the pond and makes no mention of the dive team being called.
“Without finding anything, there wouldn’t be a need to call the dive team,” said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.
Nix was reported missing on Feb. 24. It was the dive team that recovered his body and SUV on Feb. 27.
The supplemental report says Nix drowned and his blood-alcohol level was .192, more than twice over the limit. The report says Nix’s SUV was going 31 mph when it went into the water. A dive team officer said: “Typically vehicles will float for about a minute before sinking, and it was possible the victim was able to exit the vehicle and attempted to swim to shore.” Nix’s body was found outside his SUV.
Nix’s family didn’t get a chance to see him after he was recovered because of the condition of his body, which also led to him being cremated.
“They explained to us, had it been a little more sooner, even if he was under water a day or two, we would have been able to view his body or give him a proper burial,” Wingfield said.
Two months after Nix’s death, his parents learned about the witness.
“It was actually shocking that nobody told us,” Wingfield said.
News4Jax asked JSO for comment about sources telling us there is an internal affairs investigation. The Sheriff’s Office does not acknowledge internal affairs investigations until they are concluded, as a matter of policy.
Nix, 29, was a standout at Raines High School and went on to play at Notre Dame, spend two years with the Houston Texans and briefly sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He made us proud parents,” Wingfield said.
Nix was injured in a shooting in December at a gas station on Airport Center Drive. He told News4Jax days after the harrowing encounter that he was “getting through it” and hoped it wouldn’t happen to anyone else.