Tricia Freeman was buried in a shallow grave in a vacant lot more than 150 miles from her Palmetto home.
According to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, 26-year-old Roy Nichols Jr. knows the area well.
Around 11 a.m. Monday — using information given by Nichols — members of the Chiefland Police Department and Levy County Sheriff’s Office were able to find the remains of the 47-year-old Palmetto woman nearly a week after she was killed.
Lt. Scott Tummond of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office said Nichols grew up in Chiefland near Eddie Buie Park, just north of where Freeman was buried.
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Law enforcement officials say Nichols, who is the boyfriend of Freeman’s daughter, Kayla Colyer, killed Freeman on March 14 in her home after she said something to “set him off,” according to Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler.
Nichols and Colyer then stole Freeman’s green 2016 Chevrolet Sonic, put Freeman in the trunk, buried her in Chiefland and headed north. The pair were recognized at a truck stop in West Virginia and subsequently arrested.
Nichols faces a second-degree murder charge; Colyer faces a charge of accessory to murder after the fact. They are expected to be extradited to Manatee County soon.
On Tuesday morning, Nichols and Colyer waived their rights to extradition proceedings. Arrangements are underway to transport the pair from West Virginia to Manatee County to face charges, Tyler said.
Details on how Freeman was murdered have not been released.
“There were significant details we learned and they are consistent with some things we’ve seen in the house,” Tyler said.
After law enforcement exhumed Freeman’s body, her remains were sent for an autopsy to the District 8 Medical Examiner’s Office in Gainesville, according to Tummond. A forensic anthropologist was called to the scene to assist because of concerns that her body had been buried for several days, according to Tyler.
Freeman’s car will be transported back to Manatee County as evidence in the case.
Friends of Freeman plan for a vigil near her home in the 1900 block of 11th Street West in Palmetto around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.