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Aunt calls Jax Beach woman charged with killing mother 'monster'

Marla D'Andrea, 39, denied bond Tuesday in Duval County court

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The aunt of a Jacksonville Beach woman charged with killing her mother said the woman is a "monster" and that she had been worried for her sister's safety.

Marla D'Andrea, 39, was denied bond again in Jacksonville after being held without bond in Orlando, where she was arrested at the airport with her son.

D'Andrea is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her mother, Barbara D'Andrea, 67, who was found dead in Marla D'Andrea's apartment Friday afternoon.

D'Andrea appeared Tuesday in Duval County court in a red prison jump suit, indicating that she is a high-risk inmate, considered a danger to herself or others. 

Court records show D'Andrea had two previous arrests and she was Baker-acted in 2016 and her son was removed from the home. Neighbors said she had recently regained custody of the boy.

D'Andrea was detained Friday night at Orlando International Airport several hours after the body of her mother was found and D'Andrea and her 7-year-old son were reported missing.

Her attorney, Randy Reep, confirmed to News4Jax on Tuesday that Marla D'Andrea's mental health will be a key part of her defense. He said it doesn't help when someone leaves town after a crime, but that it's early in the investigation and no one should jump to conclusions.

"She enjoys the presumption of innocence, and just because she was in a place at a particular time doesn’t meant that she’s guilty of anything," Reep said. "This is at the very beginning of a case. She’s going to plead innocent and we’re going to work that case up to find that to be the ultimate conclusion."

D'Andrea will be back in court July 26.

Body found

At about 4 p.m. Friday police were called to investigate a suspicious death in an apartment at the corner of 10th Street North and First Avenue North, and then notified Florida Department of Law Enforcement that Marla D'Andrea and her son were missing.

About an hour and a half after FDLE issued a missing and endangered child alert, police said the child was found safe with Marla D'Andrea at OIA and they were taken into custody without incident. Overnight, Marla D'Andrea was booked into the Orange County Jail, held on a Duval County warrant for murder.

Marla D'Andrea's son was unharmed and in good health, police said. He was placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services. Jacksonville Beach Police Detectives and DCF workers are attempting to make custody arrangements for him.