Florida police say a 39-year-old “homeless drifter” is behind the killing of a teenage boy who went out for a bike ride two weeks ago and never came home.
Police announced charges of first-degree premeditated murder against Semmie Lee Williams Thursday morning in the stabbing death of Ryan Rogers, 14.
FLORIDA KILLING: SUSPECT ARRESTED IN HOMICIDE OF 14-YEAR-OLD BOY THAT POLICE DUBBED ‘DELIBERATE ACT’
Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clinton Shannon said Williams had a long criminal record, full of violence charges and stretching back more than two decades.
“The incident itself appears to be a completely random act – we do not have a motive in this case,” Shannon said. “[It was] an innocent child victim having a chance encounter with a very violent criminal.”
Court records show authorities booked him into Palm Beach County’s detention center around 10:50 p.m. Wednesday.
Police from Palm Beach Gardens announced an arrest in the case earlier that evening saying they nabbed a suspect in Miami but did not release any other details.
Shannon said investigators received a slew of tips over the past two weeks during a Thursday morning news conference
He called it an “unthinkable tragedy” and “unimaginable loss” for the Rogers family.
Ryan grabbed his bicycle and set out around 6:39 p.m. on Nov. 15, according to authorities. He failed to return home before the sun went down. By 10:30 p.m., his parents filed a missing person report.
Police found his remains the next day along Central Boulevard under the Interstate 95 overpass.
Investigators ruled his death a homicide and police said it looked like “a deliberate act.”
“Palm Beach Gardens appears to be a fairly safe city with a very low crime rate,” Shannon said Thursday, noting that crime can still happen anywhere. “People need to always be vigilant and aware of their surroundings wherever they are.”
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The incident shocked the surrounding community – a tight-knit, upper middle-class enclave with virtually no violent crime.
“[Ryan] was a beautiful soul with nothing but love in his heart,” family friend Janine Lano wrote in a GoFundMe set up to help with the teen athlete’s funeral expenses.
Ryan’s family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.