• Neighbor of World Golf Village shooting victim: "He knew that somebody was coming for him"

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    LATEST: 7 things to know about suspicious death of person looking into O'Connell case

    A neighbor of the victim found shot and killed in World Golf Village said the victim feared for their life, knowing someone was coming after them.

    On Monday, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim found dead Thursday as Ellie Washtock, 38. 

    The Sheriff’s Office said Washtock has identified as a male and a female, and that delayed the identification process.

    Deputies said Washtock had just started investigating the controversial Michelle O’Connell case.

    “(He was) not making plans to die.(He was) making plans to keep his kids safe, knowing that he was going to (die),” said Washtock’s neighbor, Alec Laughlin.

    “I couldn’t get into my place for 12 hours,” Laughlin said.  “They were locking it down.”

    Laughlin lives right across the hall from Washtock at the Laterra Condominiums.  He said he knew the victim as Eli.

    “He knew that somebody was coming for him, so he rented the place downstairs, didn’t tell anybody, let his kids stay there, and he stayed in his regular place,” Laughlin said.  “So, he knew it was coming.”

    An Eli Washtock made a public records request through the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in August, asking for crime scene photos for the O’Connell case in 2010.

    Washtock was a friend of the O’Connell family.

    Michelle O’Connell’s mother, Patty, posted on Facebook of Washtock: “My heart is broken.  He was another son.  He cared about Michelle.”

    Though the case was ruled a suicide, many suspect O’Connell’s boyfriend, St. Johns County Deputy Jeremy Banks.

    Putnam County deputies said Banks is not a suspect in this case.

    According to court records, Washtock changed his name from Craig to Ellie in 2009.  Records show he was involved in two domestic court cases that year, as well.

    PCSO said it has no suspect information in the case.

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