Floyd O. Rice had a Thursday court date for allegedly embezzling funds from his former employer. Wauchula police report, however, that Rice ended his life instead.

Rice was scheduled for a Thursday hearing before Hardee County Circuit Judge Michael Raiden, facing prison for the alleged theft of nearly $350,000 from the Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home in Wauchula. But police said Rice on Thursday forwarded social media posts that alarmed those receiving the messages and who then phoned Wauchula police, Chief John Eason said. Officers around 2 p.m. found Rice at home, dead from apparent suicide, Eason said. Mr. Rice was transported to the Polk County Medical Examiner's Office. Preliminary results from the cause of death will be released later today, Eason said.

Rice was arrested in October 2018 on felony charges for the alleged theft of his employer's funds. A civil suit of more than $1 million was granted. Hardee prosecutors had asked for restitution. 

The matter “is still under investigation,” Eason said, adding that Mr. Rice was alone when police arrived.

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