Man arrested in death of Nassau County pet sitter

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – A man was arrested in connection with the death of a beloved pet sitter, the Fernandina Beach Police Department said Thursday.

Shawn Lamont Wigham was arrested Thursday morning after the Police Department and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office served search warrants at a home in Fernandina Beach.

Police said Wigham is currently charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Authorities said more charges, including homicide and robbery, are expected to be filed Friday.

PREVIOUS STORIES: Multiple detectives continue investigating case of slain pet sitter, Fernandina Beach police say | Police identify 73-year-old house sitter found dead in Fernandina Beach home | Police hone in on car after pet sitter found dead in Fernandina Beach home

Colleen Potts, 73, 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.”

“I think the community can now have a sigh of relief,” said Melinda Prevatt, a friend of Potts.

Officers said they responded shortly after 9 p.m. Oct. 24 to the home for a wellbeing check and found Potts dead inside. Investigators said she was pet sitting for the homeowner who was out of town at the time.

Potts was last seen in the early hours of that evening driving her car, police said.

Her loved ones and friends want to make sure her memory is kept alive.

“She always went above and beyond. It was never just a job for her. It was never just someone’s dog or someone’s cat—it was hers,” added Prevatt.

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.

In a news release Thursday, police noted that Wigham is a local handyman, who “is familiar to the area and owner of the residence” where Potts was found.

News4Jax talked to people who live on South 13th Street, including John Deutra. Deutra said that Wigham also lives on this street, next door to the home where Potts was killed.

In early December, police held a town hall meeting to provide an update on the investigation into Potts’ death. Investigators said they conducted 25 interviews, collected 85 pieces of evidence, took 989 photos and reviewed multiple surveillance camera videos.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.