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Man arrested in connection to 73-year-old woman killed in Fernandina Beach

The Fernandina Beach Police Department found 73-year-old Colleen Potts dead while responding to a wellbeing check.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — The Fernandina Police department has arrested a man in connection to the death of a 73-year-old dog sitter back in October. 

Shawn Lamont Whigham, 47, has been arrested in connection to the death of Colleen Potts.  

Whigham is currently charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

Homicide and burglary charges are expected to be filed Friday, according to a release from law enforcement.

Potts' longtime friend and neighbor, Debbie Stapleton, told First Coast News with Whigham's arrest, her family could begin to get closure.

"This is the best Christmas gift I could have ever gotten in a lifetime," Stapleton said. 

Whigham had previously done handyman work at the residence where Potts died, officials said. 

The caller dialed 911 due to the door of the house being open and dogs running around 9 p.m., according to police. 

When police arrived, they found the garage door leading into the main part of the home open, along with the inner door to the home, the report says. 

During a secondary search of the home, police found a woman later identified as Potts lying face down on the couch in the living room.

Potts was house-sitting for the homeowner, according to a news release from police.

Nassau County Fire and Rescue crews arrived on the scene and pronounced Potts dead at the scene, the report says.

"This is believed to be an isolated incident and there is no immediate threat to the community," the release says. 

"We always encourage the members of our community to take basic safety precautions that include among others, locking your doors, not inviting strangers into your home, utilizing outside security lights and surveillance cameras, not confronting suspicious people and contacting the police if you feel uneasy about activity you may observe."

Through forensics and questioning, detectives say they were able to narrow in on Whigham. 

"He had some information that just did not make perfect sense to us, so we started to look at what he has done between a specific time frame and some of those questions just could not be answered," said Fernandina Beach Police Deputy Chief Jeff Tambasco.


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