Citizen P.I. on ID is investigating the suspected murder of Michelle O’Connell by her police officer boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, at his home in St. Augustin, in northern Florida. The case was officially ruled a suicide, but the victim’s family and friends suspect she was murdered by Banks.
On September 2, 2010, the police were dispatched to the home of Jeremy Banks, a deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department. On arrival, they found that their colleague’s girlfriend, 24-year-old Michelle O’Connell, had been shot dead. She left behind a four-year-old daughter.
She had been shot in the head. A second bullet was found lodged in the floor, and a Banks’s service pistol was lying near her left hand. Later, those arguing that O’Connell was murdered would point out that she was right-handed.
When the cops turned up at Banks’s home, they found the deputy to be severely intoxicated. He told them that O’Connell had broken up with him and had been packing up her stuff to move out. He claimed he was waiting in the garage when he heard a gunshot.
Banks said he ran towards O’Connell and kicked the door down just as he heard a second shot. He says that’s when he found his 24-year-old partner lying dead on the floor.
The case was ruled a suicide. However, there are some who suspect that O’Connell was murdered and that Banks is the prime suspect.
There have been allegations that the cops botched the case by failing to take account of forensic evidence. There have even been accusations of a cover-up by a police force protecting one of their own.
Evidence that Michelle O’Connell may have been murdered
O’Connell’s family members were quick to throw doubt on Banks’s version of events. Her sister, who was looking after O’Connell’s daughter at the time, said that the victim had texted her to say she would “be there soon.” She had also left a voicemail with her mother detailing breakfast plans. These are hardly the actions of a woman who was about to commit suicide.
The family also claimed O’Connell was a victim of domestic abuse in the months before her death.
Neighbors of Banks later stated that they heard a woman scream “help” followed by a gunshot. They then heard another shout for help, followed by a second gunshot and then silence.
The water was further muddied on January 31, 2019, when 38-year-old Eli Washtock was found shot dead inside a condominium inside a gated community at World Golf Village, St. Johns County. At the time, Washtock was a private investigator who was investigating the O’Connell case. His murder remains unsolved.
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Citizen P.I. airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.