Sources say woman in photo may be connected to ‘house of horrors' case

Two sources independently confirmed to Action News Jax that investigators are looking into whether the woman in a photo circulated by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is connected to the investigation into happened inside what neighbors call a “house of horrors” on the Southside.

The Polaroid picture of a young woman covered in dirt has been shared on social media more than 1,400 times.

The Sheriff's Office said it appears to be a woman in her early to mid-20s, but hasn’t said whether this photo is connected to a recent investigation, disappearance or crime.

JSO spokespeople won’t confirm whether the photo is connected to the investigation into the young woman’s body found at Russell Tillis’ home.

The photo file the Sheriff's Office emailed to the media is saved as “Sullivan Investigation 2” -- the name of a detective working on the Tillis investigation.

One of Tillis’ neighbors said she’s sure she’s seen the woman in the photo in the neighborhood before, but doesn’t know who she is.

Several neighbors said it’s hard to say for sure because they used to see three or four women a day coming and going from Tillis’ home, and they used to hear women run from his house screaming at 2 or 3 in the morning.

“It’s terrifying. It’s terrifying for anybody. It’s terrifying anywhere in the world, much less on your street,” said neighbor Francesca Ball.

We asked Action News Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson why he believed the Sheriff's Office is staying so tight-lipped about the photo.

“They want to verify the name. They want to be able to have total closure on the identity of this particular person before they move forward or before they share any information with the public,” said Jefferson.

Jefferson said the JSO faces a lot of challenges to identify that woman.

“That’s a great challenge. And they’re hoping that a friend or a loved one will see this photograph and readily be able to identify who this person is and cooperate with JSO,” said Jefferson.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Crime Stoppers had only gotten three tips on the photo – and all of them were different.

If you know who the woman is, the Sheriff's Office wants you to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and get a reward up to $3,000.