Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Arrest warrant issued for man in Oldsmar slaying

Neighbors walking their Great Dane in an Oldsmar community Monday called authorities after their dog hustled to the next-door driveway and began lapping at what appeared to be blood.

Melissa Cabaniss said she saw stains on the pavement and "dragging marks into the garage."

Several more neighbors gathered in front of 4761 Stoneview Circle to determine if it was indeed blood and later called authorities.

Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies arrived and inside they found the body of Teresa Sue Compton, 48.

It was obvious Compton died under suspicious means, deputies said, describing the cause of death as "upper body trauma."

Not long after, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for James Quilliams, 40, who authorities and neighbors said also lived at the house.

On Wednesday, the search for Quilliams jumped to his home state. Tennessee authorities received information that Quilliams may have been dropped off earlier that morning near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

After a warning was released, calls from park visitors came in describing a man who matched Quilliams' description: 6 feet 2, short gray hair and a goatee, wearing black pants and a trench coat.

Rangers didn't believe Quilliams poses a high risk to employees or the public, but advised visitors not to pick up hitchhikers and to exercise caution.

Neighbors in the Oldsmar community said Compton and Quilliams moved in a few months ago.

Richard Cabaniss, who first spotted the blood on the driveway, said Quilliams had told him he recently sold his house in Tennessee and planned to marry Compton. But Cabaniss added that the two frequently fought.

On the day he found the blood, Cabaniss noticed Quilliams had parked his SUV near the garage door, which was unusual.

Cabaniss also remembered Quilliams never said hello that morning, to him or to their dog, which was also odd.

Weston Phippen can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8321

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