Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The True Story of John Raymond "Woody" Woodring

End Of The Line

The hunt for John Raymond "Woody" Woodring came to an abrupt end on November 1, 2006, when his body was found aboard a houseboat on Fontana Lake, near Almond, N.C. The owners of the houseboat, Mark Leopard and Mike Megrath, were about to prepare the vessel for the winter when they stumbled upon Woodring's lifeless body.

The incident that brought about his death is believed to have occurred less than 24 hours before the initial discovery. A photo of Bonnie was reportedly in Woodring's hand, and a .38-caliber handgun was found at his side. Authorities later learned that the handgun was stolen from inside another houseboat at the lake. A handwritten note was also found near Woodring's body. In the note, he allegedly apologized for killing his wife and says he wants to join her in heaven.

Bonnie Woodring
Bonnie Woodring

According to Almond area residents, investigators had been scouring the area on and off for about two weeks after a stolen Tennessee church bus was found abandoned in the area. After the discovery of Woodring's body, several residents noticed food and other miscellaneous items missing from their own boats. It is believed Woodring was using these items to survive during his brief stay in the area.

Bonnie's family members expressed great relief upon learning of the discovery. David Lohr spoke with one of Bonnie's daughters the day of the discovery, and she was elated at the news. "It is crazy, but we don't care how he was found," she said. "We're just glad it is over." A sister of Bonnie's echoed this sentiment. "I'm not scared anymore," she said. "I'm so glad it is over...I am going to celebrate with friends and margaritas."

A representative for Woodring's family, who wished to remain anonymous, also spoke about the discovery and Woodring's troubled life.

"Johnny didn't start out like this," the representative said. "He wasn't always this way. There was a lot of trouble with Johnny in recent years, but as a child and growing up, Johnny was a bright, sweet-natured person. As years went by, though, things did begin to go wrong with Johnny.

"But there was a side to him that was good. As of yet, no one has printed that. No one has paid much attention to the idea that there may have been a mental imbalance at play here. The family wishes that things had turned out differently, and that Johnny could have gotten some help before things went so terribly wrong... He was a different person, not a bad person... There were just no winners here, David. The whole thing is incredibly sad from start to finish."

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