UPDATE: 17-year-old neighbor arrested in death of Gosnell girl

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Christopher Sowell is escorted by Mississippi County deputies during his arraignment Thursday at the Mississippi County Jail.

An arrest has been made in connection with the death of 11-year-old Gosnell girl Jessica Williams, and the initial incident report regarding the incident was released to the CN Thursday morning.

According to prosecutor Curtis Walker, 17-year-old Christopher Sowell was arrested and is expected to be arraigned later today (Thursday) at the Mississippi County Jail on charges of first-degree murder. Sowell was reportedly a neighbor to Williams.

According to the report from the Sheriff's Department, county dispatch was contacted by County Coroner Mike Godsey at 6:35 Wednesday morning to say that Williams' body had been found under a bridge on East County Road 122, in the Bo Dock area.

According to the deputy who took the initial report from Williams' father, Eric Allan Williams, Jessica went out to walk her dog and cat around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night. At 7 p.m., Mr. Williams went outside calling for Jessica, and didn't see or hear her anywhere in the area. He said he went out on their street, North County Road 503, to see if she had gone further down to play, and walked approximately 100 yards down to an abandoned property. Williams said he found Jessica's bike on the west side of the road in front of the abandoned property, and then began going door-to-door in the neighborhood, asking if anyone had seen her.

A missing person "be on the lookout" notice was given through county dispatch at around 11 p.m. Tuesday night, and the county's Criminal Investigation Division and the Blytheville Emergency Squad were contacted to help with the search. At 2:30 a.m., the Squad was notified that Jessica's puppy had been found at Bo Dock's landing by two girls who had been riding their four-wheeler in the area, between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Tuesday. Jessica was then entered as a missing person into the Arkansas Crime Information Center.

The area around the Williams residence and Bo Dock's landing were searched, then searched again at daylight on Wednesday, until the call came in reporting the location of Jessica's body.

Jessica Williams

Cook added that some of the times reported in investigation have been different as reported by Williams' father and the two young girls who located Jessica's puppy Tuesday night.

"We're working on straightening out these details," Cook said. "It's so tragic for everyone, and her father was a little confused about the timing, so we're working on that."