Sarah Marie Nicholson, 34, was found dead in a house in the 26000 block of Squire Lane when authorities responded to a report of a fire there shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 29.
As of Tuesday, the investigation into the killing was open and active, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tiffany Wood. No arrests had been made, she said.
Although he said he could not talk about the investigation into his daughter’s death, David Nicholson said authorities were making progress.
“They think they’re close,” he said during a phone interview Monday.
An obituary published online in The Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Sarah Nicholson lived previously, states she “was the victim of a homicide after surprising thieves in her home during a house robbery.”
According to the obit, Nicholson moved three years ago to Bonita Springs, where she established a candle and soap business.
She earned a broadcast journalism degree from The University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in literature, and a doctorate of education leadership at the University of Edenborough, the obit states.
“She was a pioneer, a business owner,” her father said during a previous phone interview. “She had her own successful business.”
His daughter was also a certified storm chaser who worked with The Weather Channel during Hurricane Irma, Nicholson said last month.
Although her own home was damaged by the storm, Sarah Nicholson helped others, including a couple trapped in their collapsed home, he said.
“She was out helping old people out,” David Nicholson said. “That’s the kind of person she was.”
Sarah Nicholson was well-known, well-liked and respected in her hometown and had a reputation as an animal lover, he said.
“She spent her own money to help rescue those pets that were displaced by the hurricane,” David Nicholson said.
She was passionate about cars, too, her mother, Debra Leftwich-Nicholson, said.
“She was into racing,” she said. “She could build a car from the ground up.”
Court records state Sarah Nicholson was arrested by Lee Sheriff’s Office deputies in July and faced charges that included possessing a controlled substance and burglary of a structure at a trailer park in south Fort Myers.
David Nicholson said prosecutors were dropping all charges and expunging them.
“That incident was totally bogus and set up,” he said. “It wasn’t false arrest, but she was set up by some evil people.”
The July case was closed because of Sarah Nicholson’s death, said Samantha Syoen, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, in an email. She declined to comment further due to the ongoing active investigation into Nicholson’s death.
Wood, the Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said…