Murder suspect misses first court appearance in Collier County

Published: Updated:
Thomas J. Evans – Photo courtesy of Naples Police Department.

A south Fort Myers man sought for murder has been extradited from Georgia to Collier County to face a judge Monday afternoon; however, he has already missed his first scheduled court appearance.

Thomas Evans, 35, faces Second Degree Murder charges. He is suspected in the murder of Frances Axley, 78, at her Naples home on New Year’s Day.

Evans is scheduled to for another court appearance Monday, March 25.

MORE: Man arrested for murder of 78-year-old Naples woman

Evans was arrested in Georgia on Jan. 4, but brought back to Florida to face a judge at Collier Court Monday at 2 p.m.

On Jan. 1, Naples Police Officers conducted a welfare check on Frances Axley, 78, by her son’s request, the arrest complaint states. She resided in the 3000 block of Chesapeake Ave. in Naples.

Upon arriving at the home, officers found the gate unlocked, along with the front door. When they entered the house, Axley was laying on the floor in front of a blue recliner. She was surrounded by a puddle of blood and covered with linens.

As officers continued the search her home, they discovered bloody footprints on the stairs and a path that led to the kitchen area, the arrest complaint states.

Three possible witnesses were brought to NPD. One received a call from Evans.

“Tell [redacted] that I am not a virgin anymore,” said Evans, according to the newly released arrest complaint. “I just killed [redacted] mom.”

The call led to one of the potential witnesses to contact NPD to conduct the welfare check.

When the warrants were approved, a detective went to the crime scene where he heard the house phone ring, the arrest complaint stated. Wyndham Rewards Visa left a message, overheard by the detective, which stated Axley’s Visa card was being fraudulently used.

Detectives would then locate where the card had been used and used surveillance photos to identify Evans location and that he was driving a Ford E250 van. Both helped lead to his arrest.

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