‘They’ve got the evidence’: Father confident arrest will be made in Coast Guard member’s murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pat Schollaert says he wants the Jacksonville community to know how loving his daughter was and that she cared for so many others.

Caroline Schollaert served in the U.S. Coast Guard for eight years. She was assigned to the HITRON unit in Jacksonville -- a specialized helicopter squadron dedicated to drug interdictions.

Last Tuesday, Caroline Schollaert was shot and killed while confronting a car burglar in Riverside, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. Police are still working to track down her killer and a combined $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

RELATED: Reward now over $20K for information in murder of Coast Guard member

Pat Schollaert said he received a call from his daughter’s fiancé on Aug. 3 and learned what happened. He said the family immediately started driving down from where they live near Richmond, Virginia.

“Within minutes we had just thrown a few things into the bag and we were on the way,” Pat Schollaert said. “Within just about an hour-and-a-half, we had almost gotten to the state line, we had gotten the call that she had just passed.”

Pat Schollaert remembers his daughter as someone who always brought smiles to the people she worked with.

“A smile that was infectious, but the real beauty was inside,” he said.

Throughout the last week, JSO has been searching for a man captured on a surveillance camera.

Photo of man who JSO says may have information about a Riverside murder. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

A GoFundMe has been created, and as of Monday night more than 300 people had donated close to $18,000 to help bolster the reward for any information leading to an arrest.

Members of the Coast Guard Investigative Service went door-to-door in the neighborhood, handing out flyers -- asking for the public’s help.

“They’ve got the evidence,” Pat Schollaert said. “And I’m confident they’re gonna get this person.”

The Coast Guard said a private memorial is being held for Caroline Schollaert and her family is making arrangements to bring her home this week.

Anyone with information in her death is urged to contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.