‘She felt kind of bad for him’: Family says NC woman tried to help her suspected killer

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KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WAVY) — The Dare County Grand Jury returned an indictment for second-degree murder Monday against John “Jay” Tolson, 29, in the death of LeeAnn Fletcher. Before the day was over, police in Bangor, Maine, had him in custody.

Tolson had been living with LeeAnn Fletcher, a 38-year-old mother of two, in her home on West Kitty Hawk Road in late July. She had met him just five weeks earlier.

John Curtis Tolson (Photo courtesy Bangor, Maine Police Department)

“He had told her that he didn’t have a place to live, that he had gotten kicked out of where he was living,” said Fletcher’s cousin, Trisha Cahoon, in a Tuesday morning interview.

“She felt kind of bad for him, and she said ‘I have an extra room, you’re more than welcome to stay at the house’ and then the relationship became more than just friendship.”

But then intimacy turned to fear and Fletcher put Tolson’s belongings outside on the front porch Monday, July 20.

“LeeAnn had started packing his stuff and removing his stuff from the home, and that was the last time anybody heard from her was 4:30, 5 o’clock Monday afternoon,” Cahoon said.

EMTs discovered her unresponsive in her bathtub two days later. It’s unclear who called 911 because police and the district attorney are not commenting publicly on the case.

A private investigator familiar with the case says the blood evidence in several locations in the home doesn’t support a fall in the bathtub. By the end of that week, Saturday, July 25, Fletcher was dead.

The medical examiner says Fletcher’s primary cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head but hasn’t determined her manner of death.

Cahoon says Tolson was in Bangor for rehab. Bangor Police say they arrested him late Monday afternoon without incident and he appeared to be living on the streets. Cahoon says she and the family are happy he’s now off the streets.

“I’m very emotional. I’m happy but I’m still sad because it’s not gonna bring LeeAnn back. I know this is just step one of step ten, because now we’re gonna have a trial.”

Cahoon says the family is not interested in any plea agreement and wants Tolson to stand trial.

Tolson is being held without bond and is awaiting transfer to Dare County.

LeeAnn Fletcher’s home in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

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