THE body of a missing five-year-old was found with signs of sexual abuse on Monday as a man was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Police made the tragic discovery hours after a missing person investigation led them to a neighboring state.
The five-year-old's mother reported her missing at 6.15am on Monday, December 13, when she woke up and couldn't find her daughter.
The front door of their Columbus, Georgia, home was open, an alarming detail that led to a missing person alert for the young girl.
The investigation by Columbus police led them to Alabama, where they arrested 37-year-old Jeremy Tremaine Williams, local Fox affiliate WAGA reported.
"It's a sad time, to have to speak about a 5-year-old, who we're having to work a case on. A child who absolutely did nothing wrong," Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said.
Investigators tracked Williams to a motel in Phenix City, Alabama, a neighboring town just across the river from Kamarie's Columbus home.
He was staying at the motel with his uncle and the pair had been there for about 30 minutes before police arrived, Sheriff Taylor told reporters at a Tuesday news conference.
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Officers went to a now-vacant home in Phenix City where Williams used to live and found Kamarie's body with signs of sexual abuse, the sheriff said.
The girl was pronounced dead at 11.15pm on the same day she went missing and asphyxiation is believed to be her cause of death.
Kamarie's mother knew Williams though the sheriff said the two were not dating.
The suspect’s uncle is not believed to be an accessory to the crime.
SUSPECT'S PAST CHARGES
Investigators arrested Williams on suspicion of capital murder, a charge that pertains to victims under the age of 14.
The sheriff said the investigation continues into whether other people were involved in Kamarie's death.
"There's a lot of details that I'm not willing to disclose at this time," he said. "Because of the urgency in this case, and potential other folks that we may be looking into as suspects or offenders alongside Mr. Williams."
The sheriff declined to reveal what led investigators in Columbus to identify Williams as a suspect, though he detailed previous accusations against him.
Williams was charged with abuse of a child in Phenix City in 2009 before he was acquitted by a jury in 2012, Sheriff Taylor said.
He was also accused of abuse of a child in Columbus, and suspected in the death of a one-year-old in Alaska, according to the sheriff.
He said the status of the case in Columbus was unknown and the charge was dropped in Alaska because of a lack of evidence.
MORE CHARGES POSSIBLE
Williams was charged with capital murder in Phenix City, where the case will be tried.
He could face life without parole or the death sentence if convicted on the charge.
Additional charges, including capital murder during kidnapping and rape, could be forthcoming, according to the sheriff.
He said the investigation is far from over.
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