Family friend says suspect was with Felecia Williams the night she disappeared but had nothing to do with her murder
Tampa, Florida - On Monday, 35-year-old Granville Ritchie, the suspect in the murder of 9-year-old Felecia Williams, was back in court. Ritchie has not been charged with the child's murder, but instead with having sex with a minor. The judge agreed to give Ritchie another 72 hours to find an attorney, or else one would be appointed.
Williams, a 3rd grade student at Tampa's Edison Elementary School, disappeared on Friday, May 16. Her body was found the next day near the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
Now there's new information from a close family friend who says Ritchie was with the girl's godmother when she went to pick her up.
Antoinette Donaldson is the close family friend who says she can't even believe that Temple Terrace police named him their prime suspect in the case. She says, "That's a lie. That can't be him. That couldn't be him."
Donaldson says she watched Ritchie grow up in their homeland of Kingston, Jamaica. She says she's so close with his mother that they consider themselves family. She says Ritchie's mother is under a lot of stress over her son being named a suspect in the case. She says, "She's not eating. She's not sleeping."
Donaldson says Ritchie was with Eboni Wiley when Eboni picked Felecia up from her home the Friday night, the night the little girl disappeared. She says, "What I was told ... he and a friend picked up this little girl. Whatever happened, I don't know."
She confirms that Ritchie and his mother are the ones who live in the Doral Oaks Apartment complex where Felecia was reportedly last seen, in unit number 721. Eboni Wiley said she took a shower and when she came out of the bathroom to check on Felecia, who was watching cartoons, the girl was gone.
Donaldson says, "So if they were inside the apartment -- that's what I think -- and that little girl walked out, it could be anyone that lured her and take her away."
Donaldson is a mother herself and says she doesn't believe Ritchie is capable of taking the life of anyone despite the unrelated drug and sex with a minor charges he's currently facing. She says, "I know he didn't, I hope he didn't do it, because I don't know him as that person."
Wiley was arrested in the case after being accused of lying to investigators. She has since bonded out of jail. Police say she told them she picked Felecia up at 4 p.m. and an hour and a half later Felecia went missing. Wiley says she didn't report it for another five hours because she was hoping she'd find her. She didn't.
Felecia Williams' lifeless body was pulled out of the Courtney Campbell Causeway the next day. She was laid to rest over the Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, May 24.