Editor’s note: This story discusses suicide. If you or people you know are at risk of self-harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
The ex-girlfriend of congressional candidate Martin Hyde last week called police to report an angry dispute. In the course of conversations, she said Hyde was suicidal. Hyde later demanded she retract her statement, and she did so, but later stood by her original account.
The woman said she dated Hyde for six years and reported his erratic behavior, while expressing a desire to inform the public.
The girlfriend reported to the Sarasota Police Department that Hyde was emotional and unstable after the latest blow-up between the off-and-on couple. Police spoke to Hyde about the allegation on the day the woman called police and decided he “does not meet any criteria for any protective custody.”
This incident came after months of scrutiny about Hyde’s temperament following a traffic stop caught on video where he threatened a female police officer’s job. Hyde is challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican, in an Aug. 23 Republican Primary.
The woman in an ongoing dispute with Hyde spoke to Florida Politics and said Hyde in recent weeks cheated on her with a younger woman.
Hyde denied her account to police and criticized Florida Politics for running this story.
“It is literally fantasy. The story is fantasy. Florida Politics is fantasy,” he said. “The lies in this report, anyone can say about anyone on anything. I care too much about people to throw dirt back at them. This is a disgraceful abuse of journalistic authority. Shame on the people who would publish it.”
On the morning of Aug. 5, the woman called police and reported Hyde had shown up at her home unannounced and the two became involved in an argument. No crime occurred, but the woman told Florida Politics Hyde threatened to have her arrested for using his personal computer.
The report states the argument occurred shortly after the woman sent screenshots of messages to Hyde’s new girlfriend revealing prior conversations.
Hyde and the woman who called police dated intermittently for the last six years, the report states. While the two are recently broken up, she told police Hyde had threatened if he ever found her in bed with another man to “shoot him.” Speaking to Florida Politics, she adamantly denied saying as much to police.
Hyde denied being suicidal to police, telling them everything his ex reported was “false.”
“He then turned the conversation by alleging that the caller burglarized his residence and went through personal belongings of a woman that was at his house,” the report states.
During initial phone contact, Hyde hung up the phone on police, the report states, after expressing displeasure body cameras were being used. He told police they should investigate his accusations, but he declined to formally report any crime was committed by his ex-girlfriend.
She told Florida Politics his accusation stemmed from a time in July when she drove by his home and found the garage door open. She said she went to check on his welfare and found another woman’s purse in the home.
“I did see a purse, which threw me off,” she said. “I looked and I opened a flap of a wallet because I wanted to see the name of the person in bed with my supposed future marriage partner. He was still promising me marriage, children. I wanted to know the truth.”
She said after seeing the other woman’s name she closed the wallet.
The woman said her relationship with Hyde deteriorated over the following weeks as it became clear he wanted to instead be in a relationship with a new woman. She did send messages to the other woman, she said, as a heads-up about his character.
She told police Hyde threatened to report her to police for using his computer and accessing his emails.
The ex-girlfriend said one concern in contacting police was repeated threats by Hyde to commit suicide, perhaps as soon as 10 days in the future. She told police she had previously contacted Hyde’s son, a police officer, about his mental state.
Police spoke to Hyde’s son, who confirmed receiving text messages from the woman about his father’s mental health. But he did not believe his father to be suicidal, and said Hyde in fact had been increasingly “planning for the future.”
That included discussing purchasing a new home and liquidating his business. He did say his father’s former girlfriend contacted him by text about whether Hyde was suicidal, and that prompted him to contact Hyde and make sure he was OK. Hyde advised he was.
The ex-girlfriend said Hyde made detailed plans about selling his business and giving his money to his children before killing himself. She also showed police video at her home of Hyde showing up outside her front door and telling her to open it and provide “an explanation.”
“At this time, there is insufficient evidence to state that Martin is an immediate harm to himself, or others based off the totality of circumstances,” the report concludes.
After Florida Politics contacted Hyde for comment, the woman said Hyde showed up at her home. Shortly after, she sent Florida Politics a text recanting her account.
“I need to be honest with you as I haven’t been and before this whole situation gets even further out of control I need to be honest and tell you that for whatever reason I guess due to my sadness or pain of the relationship ending, whatever it was, I completely fabricated everything that I said to the police and to you as well, I am so sorry as that’s not typically my behavior or my character and I’m not proud of myself for doing this, but I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror if this got further out of control and knowing it was just all a lie, that’s not me and that’s not who I want to be. If you need me to sign anything or do anything further as to retract everything that I said to you, please do let me know, thank you.”
But the following day, she sent a letter to Florida Politics verifying her original account.
“Martin Hyde backed me into a corner, intimidating me and would not leave my home until I “fixed” the situation for him, when I initially refused to do it, Mr. Hyde got very agitated and I felt fearful of what he may do, either in that moment or later in retaliation as he has threatened multiple times,” she said.
She stood by the account to police and to Florida Politics.
“Every word that I spoke and provided to both the Sarasota Police Department and to Mr. (Ogles) was absolutely the truth,” she said.