Scott Edward Nelson was arrested in Jacksonville Sunday as a suspect in the murder of Florida nanny and mother Jennifer Lynn Fulford.
Nelson, 53, was arrested without incident as the police evacuated the Sunshine Inn motel and surrounded his room with guns drawn.
Records show that Nelson has an extensive criminal history including kidnapping, assault, substance abuse and bank robbery. Nelson was on supervised release after serving five years in federal prison for a bank robbery in 2010 and has no known home address.
Fulford’s disappearance was first noted last Wednesday, when she failed to pick up her client’s child from school. That’s when her family knew that something was wrong. “It’s just not like her to disappear,” her husband Robert Fulford told new outlets the day after she vanished. “I can’t get her on her cellphone,” he continued, “Her phone is off. She’s not answering texts. She’s the nicest last, most responsible last on the planet.”
Fulford was last seen in a surveillance video leaving her dentist’s office in Winter Park at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday. The next day, a statewide manhunt was launched to locate Fulford. Winter Park Police Chief Michael Deal announced that police had found video footage of a person of interest using Fulford’s ATM card, after which the Winter Park Police Department took to Facebook, posting a series of photos of the then-unidentified Nelson and asking Facebook users for assistance in identifying Nelson.
On Saturday, police broke the news that Fulford’s body had been found in a wooded area outside of an Orlando suburb. Fulford’s employer shared in her family’s grief: “We are heartbroken to learn of Jennifer’s death and find it difficult to understand why and how she became a victim of such a heinous crime,” employer Reid Berman said, “Jennifer was kind and loving. She cared for her family deeply as she did ours. We will miss her and simply have no words to describe this loss and our grief.”
After Nelson’s capture, Chief Deal thanked the other law enforcement agencies who helped in the manhunt, including the U.S. Marshals who made the arrest. Details on how the whereabouts of Nelson were discovered have yet to be disclosed by police. Deal said in a press conference on Monday, “While we’re thankful for the excellence in law enforcement that led to the capture of this individual, please keep the Fulford family in your thoughts and prayers. The Winter Park Police Department also thanked citizens over Facebook for sharing the pictures of Nelson, which might have aided in his capture.
Nelson could potentially go through the federal system for violating his probation from the 2010 bank robbery before facing homicide charges. He is scheduled to appear in an Orlando federal court this Friday for a detention hearing, and the federal case will take precedence unless U.S. attorneys file a motion and a judge agrees to transfer Nelson to state custody before addressing his probation violations, spokesman William Daniels said.