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Investigators: Boyfriend of missing Palmetto woman's daughter confesses to murder

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PALMETTO, Fla. -- The Palmetto Police Department is investigating after a quiet community was rocked by the death of a neighbor inside her home.

"I always brag this is the perfect neighborhood because it's quiet," said Palmetto resident Rex Hannaford. "When I heard about the ordeal I thought it was a joke."

Hannaford owns a home on the 1800 block of 11th St West in Palmetto. He says he was shocked when he learned police were searching for his neighbor Tricia Freeman.

"When they put the crime scene tape up, I became really concerned, then I knew it was the real deal," said Hannaford.

"The minute we got this case we were concerned," said Palmetto Police Department Chief Scott Tyler.

Freeman's friends alerted Palmetto police on Wednesday that they were having trouble reaching the 47-year-old. The case went national once her 2016 Chevy Sonic was found in Ashland, Kentucky.

"Aided by forensic technicians by the Kentucky state police, investigators found apparent human blood in different spots inside the car," said Chief Tyler during a press conference Sunday morning.

Investigators in Palmetto, Kentucky and Ohio found probable cause that Freeman's daughter, Kayla Colyer, and her boyfriend, Roy Nichols Jr. stole the car and abandoned it in Kentucky. The couple was arrested Saturday at a truck stop in West Virginia.

"During his interview, Roy Nichols Jr. admitted that he murdered Freeman on Tuesday, March 14 during a struggle," said Chief Tyler.

Detectives say Nichols admitted that he and Colyer transported the body in Freeman's car and dropped it off to another location job in Florida, then traveled to Kentucky. Palmetto Police have obtained arrest warrants, charging Nichols with second degree murder and Colyer with accessory to murder after the fact.

The investigation continues, and Hannaford remains on high alert knowing what could happen in his quiet little neighborhood.

"I've been having my neck on a swivel to make sure of anyone strange or anyone walking around," said Hannaford.

The State of Florida will be the extradition process on Monday to bring the pair back to Florida.