FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – The Fernandina Beach Police Department hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday evening to provide an update on the investigation into the death of a pet sitter.
During the meeting, which took place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center on Elm Street, investigators said they’ve conducted 25 interviews; collected 85 pieces of evidence, all of which is being processed for DNA; taken 989 photos; and reviewed multiple surveillance camera videos.
Colleen Potts, of Yulee, was found dead in October in a home on South 13th Street near Date Street in Fernandina Beach. Police described Potts’ death as “a terrible tragedy.” They are investigating her death as a homicide, and multiple detectives continue to investigate the case.
When asked Wednesday about the cause of death, Deputy Chief Jeff Tambasco said the information is pertinent to the investigation and that investigators were not prepared to release it.
Officers said they responded shortly after 9 p.m. Oct. 24 to the home for a wellbeing check and found Potts, who was pet sitting for the homeowner, dead inside.
Potts was last seen in the early hours of that evening driving her car, police said.
Police said someone may have entered Potts’ unlocked white Kia Soul the night before she was found dead and taken money that was left in the car. That is being investigated, police said.
Police noted that the home where she was found was not in disarray and there were no obvious signs of a struggle. The dogs that were protective of the house when police showed up were also not injured and were still inside the home when police showed up.
Detectives said the case is still being reviewed and they’re following up on a large number of leads. Neighbors, like Melinda Prevatt, are anxious for an arrest.
“It’s just extremely frustrating because it’s so rare here and Colleen took every precaution possible to protect herself,” Prevatt said. “It’s just concerning that being a small community knowing how protective she was that this still happened.”
Family members, many of whom live out of state, have setup a GoFundMe. It states that money will be used to fund a ceremony, memorialize Colleen with a park bench and a donation to the Humane Society.
The police department is partnering with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office and a private lab as part of the investigation.
Police said they don’t believe there is a threat to the public.