On March 11, 2022, PCSO Homicide detectives charged 30-year-old David Jesse Williams of Auburndale via warrant with first degree murder and other charges for murdering an 81-year-old Auburndale man who had been reported missing to the Auburndale Police Department. Williams was taken into custody in Georgia, where he fled after committing the crimes.
The investigation began on Wednesday, March 9th, when an 81-year-old Auburndale man (the victim) was reported missing to the Auburndale Police Department. The witness told APD officers that she had not heard from the victim since March 3, 2022. She also stated that Williams had been violent in the past and she was concerned for the victim’s safety.
During the investigation, APD detectives learned that Williams might be at a residence in Hinesville, Georgia and traveled to Georgia to investigate.
APD detectives contacted Georgia law enforcement officers who assisted with locating Williams at the suspected residence. When located by Georgia law enforcement, Williams was wearing gloves and was cleaning the inside of the victim’s truck. Detectives observed blood inside the cab of the truck and a shovel in the bed of the truck.
Williams told detectives that he used a black rope to choke the victim to death in rural Polk County in the Polk City area, and that he moved the victim’s body to the rear floor of the truck and then drove to Georgia where he buried him. The victim’s body was located in a shallow grave exactly where Williams told detectives it would be. A black rope was around the victim’s neck.
Due to the murder occurring in the Polk City area, PCSO Homicide detectives traveled to Georgia and assumed the investigation.
“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. 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.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
“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. 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.” – Andy Ray, Police Chief, Auburndale
Williams was charged with:
· First Degree Murder (FC)
· Tampering with Evidence (F3)
· Grand Theft Auto (F3)
The Auburndale Police Department also charged Williams with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (F2). Williams is currently in the Liberty County Jail in Georgia and will be transferred to Polk County at a later date.