Phenix City, Alabama: Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor hosted a press conference yesterday announcing the recovery of the body of missing 5-year-old Kamarie Holland and that the man believed to be responsible for her death was behind bars.
Taylor announced that their suspect, 37-year-old Jeremy Tremain Williams, had previous encounters with law enforcement related to allegations of child abuse. In 2009 he was charged in Phenix City with abuse of children, but was acquitted of those charged in 2012. He was also charged in Columbus, Georgia, but the outcome of that case was not known by Taylor.
Taylor reported that Williams was additionally a suspect in a case in Alaska where a 1-year-old child died, but he was never charged in that case due to a lack of evidence.
"It's a sad time to have to speak about a five year old," Taylor said, "who we're having to work a case on who absolutely did nothing wrong."
The investigation began early Monday morning when a mother called police in Columbus, Georgia to report that she woke to find her daughter missing and the front door open. According to statements made to the police, Kamarie had been asleep when her mother went to bed at about midnight, but when she woke at approximately 5:50 her daughter was missing.
At about 11:00 pm Monday night, officers recovered Kamarie's body at a vacant residence in Phenix City. "The manner of death looks to be asphyxiation" and "it did appear from the scene that there was some sexual abuse," Taylor said.
The residence was a known previous address for Williams.
Kamarie's body has been sent for an autopsy and investigators are anticipating a confirmation during the post mortem exam of sexual abuse and hoping for the recovery of DNA evidence.
"This will be a case where the death penalty will be sought if the facts continue to unfold as we're seeing them," Chief Deputy District Attorney Rick Chancey stated.
Williams made his first appearance in court yesterday afternoon before Judge David Johnson. He has been charged with capitol murder of a child under the age of 14 and according to AL.com could face additional charges of capitol murder during a kidnapping and capitol murder during a rape.
It is also possible that additional charges may be presented to a grand jury at a later date.
During his initial court appearance the Ledger-Enquirer reports that Williams declined his right to an attorney, but Judge Johnson appointed one for him anyway. As one of his first actions, attorney Chuck Floyd requested a gag order on the case which the judge issued, barring any statements to the press beyond what had already been presented. Chancey told the press that he would do what he could to advocate for the ability to provide them with updates on the case.
Williams is being held without bond.
The case is still active and ongoing and investigators are not wishing to reveal too much about the case so as to not jeopardize their investigation. Taylor did state that they were still talking with people and had not ruled out the possibility of additional individuals being charged related to Kamarie's death.
What is known is that Williams and Kamarie's mother did know each other, but Taylor clarified that it was not a dating relationship.
Williams was not on the sex offender registry.