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Jonathan Link, 20 -- Suicide

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The shackled body found floating in Hillsborough Bay has been confirmed to be a Hernando County man who committed suicide by drowning, police say.

The body of Jonathan Link, 20, was spotted by a group of tourists on a wildlife cruise Tuesday evening.

His identity had remained a mystery as police searched missing person reports. Tourist descriptions of the body as "shackled" added an eerie element to questions surrounding the death.

Police aren't sure when Link died, but they have pieced together much of his last day.

Link parked his car near Bay to Bay and Bayshore boulevards. He sat inside the vehicle long enough to write a six-page suicide note that he addressed to his family. In the letter he described looking out at water. There's no sign anyone else was in the car.

He then waded out into the water, which is shallow near that spot. His family told police Link could not swim.

On Tuesday evening, his body was pulled from the water by the captain of the Bay Spirit, an excursion boat.

A novelty shackle, one end broken, was strapped around Link's left ankle. It's not clear how long he had been in the water.

Police were able to identify Link by matching his dental records with those of the body, said spokesman Ryan Flannigan. He had been reported missing in Hillsborough County. Officers found his car Thursday evening.

Link had no history of emotional problems or depression, and his suicide stunned and devastated his family, Flannigan said. Link's father lives in Tampa, his mother in Spring Hill. The family traveled to Miami on Friday to tell his sister of the terrible news.

Police Detective Brent Holder spent hours with them, explaining the situation as best he could, Flannigan said.

So far, the only insight came from a phone message and Web page he left behind. His voicemail said he "would be gone for a long time, and he didn't know if he'd be coming back," Flannigan said.

Link's site on showed he last logged on a week ago. He'd changed his screen name to Goodbye. Link had posted several photographs of himself on the site. He'd posted favorite movies, such as The Big Lebowski, Kill Bill and Amelie. He listed his hometown as Manhattan. According to the site, he was attending the University of South Florida to get a math degree. He said he was single. His sign was Cancer.

"I'm too mean to strangers and too nice to friends," he wrote. "I am blunt about my opinion, although I won't share it every time."

By Friday evening, friends had posted goodbyes. One praised his video game skills.

Another simply said: "Jon, I'll miss u buddy. RIP."



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