The search for a missing 84-year-old Leesburg woman is now a homicide investigation, police said Thursday. "As a result of the evidence and information gathered through the investigative process, detectives are reclassifying the Bernadine Montgomery case from a missing person to an open homicide investigation," said Lt. Joe Iozzi, of the Leesburg Police Department. Information regarding the types of evidence or persons involved in the determination aren't being released at this time, Iozzi said. Montgomery was last seen Wednesday, June 15, at a home on the 100 block of Palmora Boulevard. Her 2005 blue Chevrolet four-door vehicle was also missing, but police found the vehicle abandoned
at a nearby park. Montgomery was reported missing Wednesday, June 22. Jeremy David Gentry, 43, was arrested Thursday, June 23, on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle. According to an arrest affidavit, a witness who lives near Montgomery's home noticed a man, who has since been identified as Gentry, driving the missing woman's vehicle. A registered co-owner of the vehicle was contacted and said Gentry didn't have permission to be in possession of the vehicle, a report states. "(Gentry) confirmed that he had not received permission from the missing female to possess the vehicle, and when asked with regard to what had happened to her and where she was currently located, he claimed that he did not remember, citing his use of illegal narcotics," an arrest affidavit states. Gentry is being held on no bond, according to Lake County jail records. Detectives have searched multiple undisclosed locations to try and locate Montgomery. They will continue to interview persons of interest, as well. Anyone with information on Montgomery's whereabouts is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).