Suspect in murder of 5-year-old girl involved in previous child abuse cases, homicide

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A Georgia man who once was being eyed as a suspect in the death of a 1-year-old in Alaska is now facing a capital murder charge after a missing 5-year-old girl was found dead this week in Alabama, police say. 

Jeremy Williams was taken into custody Monday in Phenix City, Ala. — just over the border from Columbus, Ga., where the mother of Kamarie Holland reported her missing from her home early that morning, according to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor. The child later was later found dead at a vacant property linked to Williams in Phenix City and “it did appear from the scene that there was some sexual abuse,” Taylor added. 

“It’s extremely difficult – I don’t care who you are. I’ve been in this business for 35 years and it never is easy to watch a case like this or to even have to investigate it,” Taylor told reporters Tuesday while announcing Williams’ arrest. “And if somebody tells you that it is, they need to get out of the business. It’s tough. It’s extremely difficult and I think every person from [the Columbus Police Department] that first took the report to the investigators that I had here last night, will never forget this case, ever.” 

An image of Kamarie Holland released by the Columbus Police Department in Georgia. (Columbus Police Department)

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Taylor said the investigation began after Columbus police received a call around 6:15 a.m. from Holland’s mother, who reported not finding her child in her house after waking up. 

Police identified Williams as a suspect and tracked him – along with his uncle – to a hotel in Phenix City. 

The same day, Taylor says investigators found Holland’s body at an abandoned property in Phenix City that Williams used to live at. 

The sheriff added that it appeared the cause of death was asphyxiation and the motive was a sexual encounter. 

Williams, according to Taylor, previously was charged twice for abuse of children and was acquitted by a jury for one of the charges in Phenix City in 2012. 

Williams also was a suspect in the death of a 1-year-old child in Alaska, but police there never were able to charge him because of a lack of evidence, Taylor said. 

An ongoing investigation also revealed that Williams and Holland’s mother knew each other, but Taylor decline to elaborate. 

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Williams is set for his first court appearance this afternoon. 

Meanwhile, Taylor said police are still investigating where there are other suspects in connection to Holland’s disappearance and death. 

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