NewsPolk County


Auburndale man charged with first-degree murder over death of elderly man

Posted at 8:28 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 08:28:10-04

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — A Polk County man is facing multiple charges including first-degree murder after the disappearance of an elderly Auburndale man.

The sheriff's office said David Jesse Williams, 30, fled to Georgia after the crime where he was found cleaning the inside of the victim's truck, which had visible blood inside the cab and a shovel in the bed. He was charged on March 11.

After his arrest in Georgia, the sheriff's office said Williams admitted to the murder. Authorities said he told them he used a black rope to choke the 81-year-old victim to death in the Polk City area. He then told detectives he moved the victim's body to the rear floor of the truck, drove to Georgia and buried him.

The sheriff's office said the victim's body was found in a shallow grave where Williams said it would be. They added that a black rope was found around the victim's neck.

Authorities said the victim was reported missing to the Auburndale Police Department on March 9 by a woman who said she hadn't heard from him in nearly a week. The sheriff's office said the woman told police Williams had been violent in the past and she was concerned for the victim's safety.

It's unclear the relationship between Williams and the victim or the woman who reported the victim missing.

Detectives with the Auburndale Police Department went to Georgia after they learned Williams might be there. They were assisted by Georgia law enforcement to find Williams.

After Williams confessed to Georgia detectives, the sheriff's office said PCSO detectives traveled to Georgia to assume the investigation because the crime took place in Polk City.

Williams is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with evidence and grand theft auto. Auburndale Police also charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He is currently in the Liberty County Jail in Georgia. The sheriff's office said he will be moved to Polk County at a later date.

“Partnerships with our fellow law enforcement agencies are vital to the safety of our communities. Auburndale police department officers did an outstanding job investigating the missing person case—their work led directly to the discovery of Williams as the man who killed our victim," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Georgia law enforcement did an outstanding job monitoring the suspect’s movements and finding key evidence in the case, including the location of our victim’s body. By combining our resources, we were able to take a violent criminal off the streets.”

“Our members responded initially to a missing and endangered 81-year-old resident of Auburndale. They worked tirelessly over the next three days, during which they found out the victim had been killed in an area north of Polk City, taken to a wooded area in Long County, Georgia, and buried. We worked with the Liberty County (GA) Sheriff’s Office and the Worthville Police Department to locate and interview the suspect," Auburndale Police Chief Andy Ray said. "They obtained a confession and were led to the buried body of the victim by the suspect. We also coordinated our investigation with Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives, who are among the best in the business, demonstrating again the value of teamwork and cooperation.”