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Missing Tallahassee man found dead was integral in Florida marriage equality

According to Equality Florida, Johnston and his husband Don were integral in overturning a gay marriage ban in Florida in 2015.
According to Equality Florida, Jorge Diaz-Johnston and his husband Don were integral in overturning a gay marriage ban in Florida in 2015.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:32 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 1:52 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - 54-year-old Jorge Diaz-Johnston was found dead at a landfill in Jackson County after going missing from Tallahassee, said police.

His death is now being investigated as a homicide. His body is believed to have ended up at the Campbellton-area landfill after being picked up from a public garbage site in Okaloosa County.

Diaz-Johnston was a well-known figure in the LGBTQ community. According to Equality Florida, Johnston and his husband Don were integral in overturning a gay marriage ban in Florida in 2015.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the death of Jorge Diaz. Jorge and his husband Don Johnston were two of the brave plaintiffs who took on Florida’s anti-gay marriage ban and helped in marriage equality for all Floridians. Our deepest condolences to Don and Jorge’s extended family.”

- Nadine Smith, Exec. Dir. of Equality Florida

A video on the organization’s YouTube page from January 2014 shows a press conference the couple held when they announced their ‘Freedom to Marry’ lawsuit.

Don posted a tribute to his husband on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.

“He touched so many people with his kind and generous heart. It seems impossible to even fathom how to tell them all,” Don wrote.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz is Diaz-Johnston’s brother. He released the following statement Thursday:

“I am profoundly appreciative of the outpouring of support shown to me, my brother-in-law Don, and my family after the loss of my brother, Jorge Diaz-Johnston. My brother was such a special gift to this world whose heart and legacy will continue to live on for generations to come. I am also so very grateful to the Tallahassee Police Department - with the support of Mayor Dailey and City Manager Goad - who have worked tirelessly to locate and investigate the circumstances surrounding my brother’s disappearance. Their commitment has meant the world to my family and will continue to mean the world in our search for justice. We ask for privacy and continued prayers.”

According to a close family friend, Diaz-Johnston was a paralegal. He went missing without his vehicle and it is a mystery as to how he ended up in Okaloosa County. A missing person poster put out by Tallahassee Police said Diaz-Johnston was last seen on January 3 near Remington Green Circle, a commercial area located off Capital Circle Northeast.

Detectives have asked anyone who may have information to call 850-891-4200, or make an anonymous to CrimeStoppers at 850-574-TIPS.

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