Houston & Peach

Man on the run in slaying of 78-year-old Florida woman jailed in Houston County

Thomas Joseph Evans
Thomas Joseph Evans

A man wanted in the slaying of a 78-year-old Florida woman was arrested Friday morning at the Pilot Travel Center off Interstate 75 near the Houston and Peach county line.

Thomas Joseph Evans, 35, of Chicago was jailed at the Houston County Detention Center in Perry on an extradition hold from the Collier County, Florida, sheriff’s office, jail records show.

Evans was arrested on an outstanding warrant for second-degree murder in the slaying of Frances K. Axley, in Naples, Florida, according to a Naples Police Department news release.

Axley was found dead in her apartment on Chesapeake Avenue at 12:34 p.m. New Year’s Day by police dispatched to conduct a welfare check, the release said. She died of sharp force injury.

Evans was taken into custody without incident at the travel center, said Houston County sheriff’s Capt. M. J. Stokes, who heads the warrant division.

The Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force for the U.S. Marshal Service assisted Florida authorities in locating Evans and helped take Evans into custody, the release said.

Becky Purser covers breaking and Houston County news. She previously covered crime and courts for Houston and Peach counties for The Telegraph. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in communications/news-editorial sequence, Becky also has covered city and county government for Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia newspapers.
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