Longtime Volusia County Sheriff's deputy found dead Friday in backyard of his Deltona home; purportedly a suicide

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DELTONA -- A long-time Volusia County Sheriff's deputy was found dead Friday, purportedly a victim of suicide.

"The Volusia County Sheriff's Office regrets to announce the untimely death of longtime deputy Carl "Pete" Willard," Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said in a brief press release. "Willard was found dead in the backyard of his home in Deltona early Friday afternoon. Deputies were initially dispatched to the residence after receiving a call regarding a suicidal person."

Davidson said the cause of death is under investigation.

Willard's career with the Sheriff's Office initially spanned 30 years, prior to his retirement in December 2005, at the rank of sergeant. He returned to work with the Sheriff's Office in January 2007, as a part-time reserve deputy and is survived by his wife and two grown children -- a son and daughter, Davidson said.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.