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Police arrest man found driving slain Atlantic Coast teacher’s car

Vivian James, 49, was found dead inside her Westside home in December

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After beloved Atlantic Coast High School teacher Vivian James was found dead in her home on the Westside of Jacksonville in December, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Zebulon Perkins after he was found driving her car.

In the car, investigators found James’ cellphone, credit cards and a bag with a pair of bloody sweatpants, according to an arrest report.

Perkins, 27, was arrested the same day James was found dead and accused of three counts of tampering with evidence and dealing in stolen property. Perkins has not been charged in connection with James’ death.

James, 49, was found the morning of Dec. 28 in a home on Glen Alan Court near 103rd Street. Investigators said that she had been dead for 48 hours before she was discovered by a friend who came to check on her.

Shortly after she was found, investigators started looking for her missing car, a 2007 Toyota Camry. They eventually found it at a nearby hotel on 103rd Street.

According to a JSO arrest report, Perkins was seen by detectives loading property into the car and throwing a trash bag into a dumpster. A search of the dumpster turned up identification cards, pill bottles and earbuds that belonged to James, according to JSO.

Perkins was pulled over by JSO investigators after he left the hotel and detained for questioning. He was eventually arrested and accused of dealing in stolen property after two televisions and a computer monitor belonging to James were found at his mother’s home.

The next day, investigators searched the Toyota Camry and found a bag belonging to Perkins. Inside the bag was a pair of bloody sweatpants, a camera and three laptops that belonged to James, according to an arrest report. James’ cell phone was also found in the car, according to the report, along with her credit cards.

Perkins told investigators he knew James, according to an arrest report, and was at her home two days earlier to talk to her about anxiety issues he had been having.

Perkins told his girlfriend he got the car after he bought it from “a friend” for $2,000, according to JSO.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office did not give an answer when asked if Perkins is considered a person of interest in Vivian James’ murder investigation.

“As a result of Marsy’s Law, we are unable to respond to questions regarding certain specific victims of crimes,” a JSO spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Perkins is being held on $100,000 bond and his arraignment is set for Jan. 21.


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