MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — A mother of three was found murdered in her Ocklawaha home, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies discovered Melissa Nease, 29, inside her house on a relatively remote stretch of Guava Pass Drive after someone called 911 around 6 p.m. on Feb. 28. Nease’s only sibling, Amy Harris, said a friend found her sister hurt inside the house.
“I don’t understand how somebody could just take somebody away from their kids, especially when she’s so young, so young, so beautiful, so full of life,” Harris said.
According to Harris, Nease lived with her children, stepchild and the father of her children. She said the rest of the family was in Tennessee seeing the snow, but Nease stayed behind because she had to work at a new clerical job she started just days before she was killed.
“How do you explain to a 10, 8 and 2-year-old that mommy’s not coming back?” Harris said. “She’ll never be at their graduation, at their weddings. She’ll never be a grandmother.”
On Tuesday, Sgt. Paul Bloom with the sheriff’s office said it is still early in the investigation.
“It’s one of these cases where we just don’t have a whole lot right now, initially,” he said. “I’ve been asked, ‘Do we have a suspect description or even some kind of vehicle we could be looking for?’ And the answer to that is, ‘No, we do not right now.’ Detectives are still working on this case very diligently. In fact, they’re working overtime on this.”
Detectives said they interviewed family, friends and neighbors and all are cooperating. Harris said she does not have any suspicions about what could have happened to her little sister.
“I don’t because I don’t know anybody that did not like my sister,” she said.
Harris remembers her sister as a loving and devoted mother. She said before the pandemic, Nease worked at a car dealership but decided to become a full-time mother to help her children after COVID-19 hit.
“Her world was her three kids. And now somebody took a mother from their three kids,” Harris said.
Harris said she and her sister were inseparable.
“She was always the most joyful. She was the happy kid. She was the smart one. I waited years and me and her went to college together in Altamonte Springs,” she said.
Nease’s family buried her on Monday. Now, they are pleading for answers.
“Please, anybody that knows anything let her children have peace. Let her children know that the person that did this to her is going to pay and suffer for what they did,” Harris said.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is also asking anyone with information to come forward or to call Crimestoppers of Marion County to remain anonymous.
“Sheriff Woods, he said we’re devoting every resource we have to this to try to solve this case as quick as we can, bring this person to justice whoever did this,” Sgt. Bloom said.