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Palm Coast Friday, Mar. 3, 2017 5 years ago

Local chef Stephen Schoembs found dead in Walmart parking lot

Schoembs was the former executive chef at the Hammock Dunes Club.
by: Jonathan Simmons Managing Editor

Stephen Schoembs, the former executive chef at the Hammock Dunes Club, was found dead March 2 in the back seat of his Jeep Wrangler in the parking lot of the Palm Coast Walmart.

Schoembs, 43, had previously been reported missing by his mother, Erika Schoembs. 

His girlfriend, Ann Thomas, 42, found him dead at about 8 a.m. March 2, and called the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. Thomas and Erika Schoembs were both at the scene when deputies arrived.

Deputies found no obvious signs of trauma and no gunshot wounds.

Schoembs had worked as a chef in Germany, Saudi Arabia and Hawaii before becoming the executive chef at the Hammock Dunes Club in July 2016.

His parents had owned a gourmet deli in New York before moving to Flagler County when Schoembs was 6.

Schoembs got his start in restaurant work at 13, washing dishes at the Palm Coast Denny's. His father was one of a group of people who had opened the restaurant. 

Schoembs attended Belle Terre Middle School (now Buddy Taylor Middle School), then Flagler Palm Coast High School before attending Daytona State College and the Culinary School of America.

Erika Schoembs reported her son missing March 1. She'd previously told deputies, on Feb. 27, that her son had disappeared, and she wasn't sure where he'd gone. 

She said he'd arrived drunk the evening of Feb. 26 to the house he shared with Thomas on Parkview Drive, and Thomas had refused to let him in. 

Schoembs left that night in the Wrangler. His mother believed he was depressed and may have gone to a motel.

Thomas told deputies that calls to Schoembs' cell phone were going straight to voicemail, and that he'd left his driver's license at home.

A memorial gathering for Stephen Schoembs will be held 2-5 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home at 511 Old Kings Road South in Flagler Beach. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bariatric Surgery Fund in Memory of Stephen Schoembs; send checks to Flagler Health Care Foundation, PO Box 860216, St. Augustine, FL 32086. For credit card donations, please call 904-819-4625.

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