Family of Pittsylvania County woman found dead inside her burning home still in shock

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY (WSLS 10) - "It was so shocking. It was really devastating. It still is. We're still in shock," said Christine Davis about her sister-in-law's death.

Davis said she still doesn't know why her sister-in-law, 62-year-old Bernadette Marie Nesbitt, died early Wednesday morning.

According to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke, the official cause of death was sharp force trauma to the head, torso, and extremities.

Davis's 16-year-old nephew, the youngest of Nesbitt's seven children, is charged with first-degree murder and arson.

She was in disbelief when she found out Wednesday that he had been charged.

"It was unbelievable. I was in shock. I just didn't know what to do," said Davis.

According to the sheriff's office, he was found at the scene when firefighters arrived around 3:45 a.m.

"My nephew came and was banging on the door. He told me there was a fire in the house and I called 911," Davis recalled. "He was distraught and crying."

Because the sheriff's office has not released the teen's, WSLS 10 has decided to withhold it.

The Pittsylvania County Fire Marshal's office is investigating the fire, but as of Wednesday had not released an official cause.

"When I found out she was dead," said Davis, "I can't even describe it. It was just really so devastating. How could it happen? How could it happen? How did it happen?"

She said she will remember her sister-in-law as a beautiful person who will be deeply missed.

Once the investigation is complete, the family plans to take Nesbitt's body back to New York, where she is from, to be buried.

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