Homeless drifter arrested in slaying of 14-year-old Florida boy

By Megan Hadley
Homeless drifter arrested in slaying of 14-year-old Florida boy
Ryans Rogers, a 14-year-old Florida boy was murdered Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., while out riding his bike in November. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Gardens Police Department

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A homeless drifter has been arrested in the slaying of a 14-year-old Florida boy who went for a bike ride and encountered a "very violent criminal," police said Thursday.

Ryan Rogers was killed by a "random act," Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clint Shannon said in a news conference Thursday.


Semmie Williams, 39, was arrested late Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder in the crime that "had no motive," Shannon said.

What happened here was an "innocent child victim having a chance encounter with a very violent criminal," he said.

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"It's a mystery to us why this man was in our community, but, again, we have evidence that places him on the scene and makes him responsible for the murder of this child."

Williams appeared to be a homeless drifter from Miami, and it is still unclear why he was in Palm Beach Gardens, two counties away, authorities said.


Ryan, a freshman at William T. Dwyer High School, was found stabbed to death near Interstate 95 on Nov. 16. His mother had reported him missing the day before when he failed to return from a bike ride.

According to an arrest warrant obtained by The Miami Herald, Ryan crossed paths with Williams on a sidewalk on Central Boulevard about 7:31 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Investigators eventually discovered DNA on Ryan's headphones found at the scene. The DNA matched Williams, who had a previous criminal history.

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Law enforcement tracked Williams to Miami-Dade on his YouTube page, which also placed him at Palm Beach Gardens at the time of Ryan's death.

The Palm Beach County Public Defender's Office is representing Williams, who has been denied bail.

A hearing Thursday morning was done from Williams jail cell.

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