Suspect named in 2017 Jay murder cold case

A suspect has been named in the 2017 killing of a Jay woman, but his arrest may be delayed until 2021 according Sheriff Bob Johnson.

Felecia Kuswandy

Felecia Kuswandy, 38, was reported missing in May 2018, but investigators believe she died in November 2017 after her decomposing body was found in a shallow grave on her half-brother’s property at 7796 Highway 4 last December.

In a press conference Feb. 28, Johnson announced an arrest warrant has been issued for Jerry Savoy Phillips, 28.

Johnson said the details of the death and potential motives are not being made public at this time because the arrest warrant has not been officially served.

Jerry Savoy Phillips, Jr.

Phillips is incarcerated in Alabama on narcotics trafficking charges and is scheduled for release Oct. 23, 2020 or at latest Oct. 23, 2021.

Once Phillips is released he will be served the warrant from Santa Rosa. Assistant State Attorney Matt Gordan said the charge is an open count of murder. He said once the warrant is served, the state attorney’s office will assess the evidence to determine whether to pursue first- or second-degree charges, “whatever we think the evidence will satisfy a jury on.”

Johnson indicated Phillips has a history with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, and deputies have previously responded to a domestic violence complaint at this address. In November 2018, Phillips’s brother Glenn was shot by deputies after allegedly pointing a crossbow at them at the Highway 4 property.

“The family, we have dealt with them on multiple occasions prior to this,” Johnson said.

The discovery of Kuswandy’s body was prompted after an interview in December 2018 Johnson said. When the sheriff’s office executed the search warrant at the 12-acre rural property, Klaus Kids’ cadaver dogs team and the University of West Florida anthropology department assisted in locating and recovering the remains.

Johnson said their help was essential.

“We have to sift through everything. There’ll be minute bones that we could possibly miss that an anthropologist would not,” he said. “That’s why they come in and help us, and let me tell you, they do a wonderful job.”

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