PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Police said a DNA match led to the arrest of a Miami man in connection to the murder of a 14-year-old boy in Palm Beach Gardens.
Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clint Shannon provided an update on the case, Thursday morning.
Investigators described the suspect, 39-year-old Semmie Lee Williams, as a “homeless drifter” usually found on the streets of Miami.
Shannon said Williams had a chance encounter with 14-year-old Ryan Rogers, who went out for a bike ride on Nov. 16.
“Since Tuesday, Nov. 16, our investigators have received and followed up on numerous phone calls and other tips,” said Shannon. “Through their diligent work and our community support, we were able to discover key pieces of evidence, develop probable cause for the arrest of Semmie Lee Williams.”
Williams is accused of stabbing Rogers in the face and neck multiple times.
According to the arrest affidavit, Rogers was last seen at 6:40 p.m. that day, and his mother reported him missing at 10:30 p.m. that night.
Investigators said Williams somehow ended up about 80 miles north in Palm Beach Gardens and crossed paths with Ryan, most likely during a random walk.
“The incident itself appears to be a completely random act. We don’t have a motive in this case,” said Shannon. “I would best describe it as an innocent child victim having a chance encounter with a very violent criminal.”
Rogers’ body was found in a wooded area off Interstate 95 and Central Boulevard the following day.
Shannon described Williams as “an animal that probably should not be out on our streets.”
Williams is said to have posted videos online pinpointing his location, which is one of the ways police were able to locate him.
Authorities said he is mentally ill and speaks of conspiracies and delusions in some videos posted on YouTube.
“So they have chips implanted all over my body, right? They’re also reading my mind through my ears, and they’ve been tearing up my shoes,” said Williams in a video.
Police said Williams left behind a pair of headphones, and when investigators did a swab of the headphones, it led them to the suspect.
“We have evidence that places him at the scene. It makes him responsible for the murder of this child,” said Shannon.
Due to his long criminal history, Williams was already in the system. He has a long rap sheet, ranging from strangulation to aggravated assault to being a fugitive on the run from the law in California.
Rogers’ family described the victim as an athletic teen who loved soccer and being outdoors.
“We want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Rogers family,” said Shannon. “They are experiencing an unthinkable tragedy and have experienced an unimaginable loss. I met with them this morning and made sure that they knew we stand beside them through all of this and we will continue to.”
Shannon also expressed gratitude and pride for his department’s nonstop efforts to catch Rogers’ killer.
Williams remains at the Palm Beach County Jail.
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