ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- The sheriff's office has named the estranged boyfriend of a missing woman as a person of interest in her investigation. The father of Rebecca Ware's children spoke out Wednesday night.
Ware, 34, was last seen as she left work last October, and investigators are trying to figure out if her estranged boyfriend, Timothy Johnson, 40, is to blame.
John Gaffney has three children with Ware. They were together for years, but on October 30, 2009 they separated. Gaffney said it's hard to swallow that exactly a year later, Ware disappeared.
"It bothers me that she could decline so fast in such a short span of time. To have an end like this bothers me," Gaffney said.
Ware and Johnson had a rocky relationship, according to Gaffney. He said Ware told him that Johnson abused her repeatedly, including choking her so badly that it busted blood vessels in her eyes. Gaffney said he reported the alleged abuse to investigators looking into what happened to the mother of his children.
But Ware never reported anything to police.
Gaffney acknowledged that his relationship with Ware wasn't always good. He said he served time for a domestic violence issue involving Ware back in 1998. Duval County Court records show that he also had a domestic battery charge in 2008.
"I did it and the punishment that I got, I deserved it," Gaffney explained. "I should always have control of my hands and be in control of my life."
Still, Gaffney has had the task of making sure the three teenaged children he shared with Ware are able to cope with their mother's disappearance. He said despite not knowing what has happened, they're handling things well.
"My kids are doing great because of me. I'm a great father. We sit down and we talk. Reality hasn't really set in for them yet. I have let them know that they probably won't see Mommy again, but I don't linger on that conversation."
Despite that, Gaffney said it's been hard not having Ware around. He mentioned that Ware had only been living with him and their children again for a short time before she went missing.
"She has clothes that are over here that are in my closet and I will never get rid of them. Because she was back with us for four days. There are just so many other things I wish I could have said to her or done," Gaffney furthered.
Gaffney described Johnson as an evil man and said he's caused Ware's friends and family a lot of pain.
"One day you think there's hope. The next day you think there's none."
First Coast News