JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Editor’s note: This story contains details that some will find graphic. Discretion is advised.
Chelsea Thompson had only lived for 30 years until her life was cut short by unimaginable violence that Jacksonville police say happened inside an Oceanway home.
Thompson was laid to rest last week after doctors harvested her organs to be donated to patients in need of a transplant. Jacksonville police say Thompson was tortured and later died from her injuries.
Elizabeth Colageo, Thompson’s aunt, lives in South Carolina. She says her niece was an achiever who inspired relatives to go into the health field as well as become organ donors.
She remembers Thompson as “a ray of sunshine.”
“She brightened up our room,” Colageo said.
The family says Thompson was interested in dentistry, so she went to a dental assistance school after graduating from Baldwin High School and then inspired her aunt to do the same.
Colageo says Thompson was a mother to two girls, a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old, who are currently living with their fathers.
She says that while she is not sure how the 9-year-old is currently taking her mother’s death, the 4-year-old is too young to understand.
“She doesn’t know anything,” Colageo said.
The man who was arrested on charges of assaulting Thompson and holding her against her will is 37-year old Henry Lannon II. According to his arrest warrant, Lannon told a friend who he went to stay with in St. Marys, Georgia, that he tied up the 30-year-old and tortured her. The friend told News4JAX that days later, he called police.
“It’s just so crazy that something like this could happen,” Colageo said. “I thought it’s like a scene from a movie.”
An online obituary reads: “Chelsea has such a love for people and especially her family and friends. She leaves behind so very many people that will miss her sweet, funny and fighting personality.”
Right now, Lannon faces charges of aggravated battery and kidnapping. News4JAX crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson expects those charges to be upgraded.