November 30, 2018 04:39 PM

On the morning of Dec. 16, 2000, Jerry Michael “Mike” Williams packed up his gear and drove out to Florida’s Lake Seminole to spend a few hours duck hunting on his boat. The following day, he was supposed to go on a weekend anniversary with his wife, Denise.

But Williams never went on the anniversary trip.

When he didn’t return from his hunting outing, his father-in-law went looking for him — and found his abandoned boat.

Police speculated he had fallen into the waters and was eaten by alligators, and the years-long mystery is featured on next Monday’s episode of People Magazine Investigates on Investigation Discovery.

Titled “Mystery in the Swamp” the episode airs on Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. ET. (An exclusive clip is shown above.)

Mike and Denise Williams
Courtesy Cheryl Williams

 

Ryan Dailey/Democrat/USA Today

In the years following Mike’s death, his mother Cheryl steadfastly maintained her son’s death was not an accident. Now, 17 years later, authorities agree.

• For more on the mysterious death of Mike Williams, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

“Cheryl Williams was right for 17 years that it was not a disappearance, that Mike Williams was not eaten by an alligator,” Assistant State Attorney Jon Fuchs said in a June court hearing.

During those 17 years, Williams stood on street corners with signs imploring police to solve the case and wrote more than 200 letters to the governor.

The results of her efforts — and the resulting police investigation — shocked all who knew Mike.

People Magazine Investigates: Mystery in the Swamp airs Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.

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