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Lance Gregory Whatley missing, mom dead; St. Lucie Co. Sheriff's Office asks for help

Posted at 9:03 AM, Sep 13, 2017

Detectives in St. Lucie County continue to look for a missing Port St. Lucie man, whose mother was a homicide victim before Irma came ashore.

40-year-old Lance Gregory Whatley is not considered a suspect or a person of interest in the death of his mother, 67-year-old Kathie Whatley.  But detectives say he was the last person seen with her last week.

Whatley's neighbors Wednesday were stunned to learn of Whatley's death.

“We were absolutely shocked.  She’s had a very peaceful quiet life," said Patricia See, who knew Whatley's parents as well.

“She seemed to have a heart of gold.  Very pleasant," said Mike Dye.

Dye said he spoke with Kathie Whatley last Thursday.  She told him she and her son were going elsewhere for Irma and had asked him to call after the storm with an update on her home.

“She was going to stay with a friend and he was going to stay with a friend," said Dye.

But Kathie Whatley didn’t reach her destination.

Friday morning, there was a 9-1-1 call from the River Park Marina in Port St. Lucie.  A Toyota Camry was submerged in the St. Lucie River. Whatley’s unconscious body found nearby.

“Detectives confirmed that the vehicle found in the river was owned by her," said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Whatley died the next day.  Her son, 40-year-old Lance Whatley, has not been seen since.  He has a history of medical and mental issues.

“We need to find him to make sure he’s not a victim and to get some of these answers.  Where they were, what they were doing before the storm," said Sheriff Mascara.

Detectives say at Whatley’s Port St. Lucie home, there was no sign of a struggle or any signs of foul play.          

Neighbor Patricia See said the Whatleys kept to themselves but remembered when she would give her kids special treats at Halloween.

“She took care of her dad, he passed away last year.  She worked.  They had a very quiet life.  But she was a wonderfully nice lady.”

“Every once in a while, she would come over and check up on us.  They were very nice people," said Ryan See, Patricia's son.

If you have any information, contact the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office at 772-462-3279 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS.