Questions remain despite suspect being named in death of 9-year-old girl

May 21, 2014 

Felecia Williams

TEMPLE TERRACE -- The man police are calling a suspect in the murder of a 9-year-old Tampa girl is scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday.

However, Granville Ashanti Ritchie, 35, was arrested on an unrelated drug charge in Pinellas County and questions still remain about his involvement in the murder last weekend of Felecia Williams.

Reports indicate police may have been looking for Ritchie since Monday.

The body of the third grader at Edison Elementary School was found floating in Tampa Bay near the Courtney Campbell Causeway Saturday afternoon. The girl had last been seen at the Doral Oaks Apartments in Temple Terrace Friday afternoon.

Temple Terrace police say Ritchie is their suspect but are not elaborating. Authorities said they don't want to compromise their investigation.

Jail records show Ritchie was arrested by St. Petersburg Police Wednesday at Williams Park on a Hillsborough County warrant for drug possession. That warrant was issued on May 19, before Ritchie was identified as a murder suspect.

As the St. Pete officer was making the arrest, ecstacy was found in Ritchie's pocket.

Overnight, Hillsborough County authorities rushed through a second warrant on four counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor. The victim of the sex acts was being interviewed as a potential witness in reference to Williams’ murder when she disclosed to detectives the unlawful sexual activity. An arrest warrant for the new charges was obtained late Wednesday night.

At a press conference late Wednesday, Temple Terrace police urged anyone with information to come forward with information that would tie Ritchie to the murder.

"If you have information, if you've been scared to share it with us now is the time," said Temple Terrace Police Chief Ken Albano. "I can not emphasize it enough. Help us bring the murderer of this little girl to justice."

The Williams family has not said if they knew Ritchie prior to his arrest yesterday.

At least one neighbor that contacted Bay News 9 through social media on Wednesday said that Ritchie was dating Eboni Wiley, the family friend that took Williams to the Doral Oaks Apartments. Wiley told police that at some point, she took a shower while at the apartments. When she came out, the 9-year-old was gone, according to what Wiley told police.

Wiley, 23, was arrested on a charge of lying to police - it took her five hours to report Williams missing.

Wiley was released Sunday morning. Meanwhile, the FBI has added $10,000 in reward money to the $3,000 already being offered by Crimestoppers for anyone with information that may help in the case.

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