Mystery surrounds homicide of a Naples woman

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Naples police are investigating a homicide after finding a woman dead inside a home on the 1300 block of Chesapeake Avenue Tuesday.

Katrina Varela said she couldn’t believe someone killed her next door neighbor, Francis Axley.

“It’s all really sad,” Varela said. “I mean we’re just such a close community to think that something so close-knit could happen it’s just really frightening and kind of terrifying.”

Others said they are distraught, calling her the sweetest lady living on Chesapeake Ave.

Neighbor Darren Howard said she was the first person he met when he moved there,”She came up to me while I was walking my dog and came up and said hello so this doesn’t seem, I don’t know.”

Naples police said someone who knew Axley, 78, asked them to go and check on her Tuesday afternoon. Once they arrived at her apartment, they found her dead. Units blocked off most of the street while they collected evidence and went door to door asking questions.

“My husband did ask the police if we were in any danger and they said no, we were not,” said Cindy Belcher, a neighbor. “We’re just going on with our lives and hoping everything gets straightened out soon.”

Police said at this time there is a person of interest, but they do not believe that person is in Southwest Florida anymore. But the question remains on the minds of many neighbors: How and why was Axley’s life taken?

The Police Department asks is anyone has information about Axley’s death call the Criminal Investigations Division at 239-213-4822 or Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.

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