$10K offered for info on Florida man who left manslaughter trial for lunch, didn’t return

Waldo was on trial in connection with a DUI crash that killed 3

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced that a $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Zachery Waldo, the man who left his DUI manslaughter trial for lunch and never returned.

Waldo was on trial in connection with a DUI crash on Christmas Eve in 2019 that killed Christopher Smith, Jessica Smith and their 13-year-old daughter, according to court documents.

Waldo, who was out on bond, left his trial on March 14 and has not been seen since.

According to police, Waldo has fled from law enforcement in the past, and has a history of committing battery against law enforcement.

Anyone who comes in contact with Waldo is advised to proceed with caution.

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The reward – $5,000 from Central Florida Crimeline and $5,000 from the from the Florida Sheriff’s Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program – was announced on Monday.

In order to be eligible for the reward, callers must provide their information through Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS, where they can remain completely anonymous.

Also on Monday, the sheriff’s office said Waldo’s girlfriend, 32-year-old Melinesia Shauntel Jones, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals on a Lake County warrant.

Melinesia Shauntel Jones, 32 (Lake County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies said Jones was taken into custody during a traffic stop on Vine Street in Leesburg and faces charges for principal to failure to appear, accessory after the fact to DUI manslaughter, false information to law enforcement in felony investigation, and accessory after the fact to DUI with serious bodily injury.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office posted on social media a statement that read in part, “The public is being asked to provide information as to his whereabouts so that Waldo can be brought to justice and the family of the victims can hopefully begin to get some sense of closure.”

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About the Author:

Jacob joined ClickOrlando.com in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.