PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Authorities have arrested and charged a homeless man on suspicion of stabbing a teenager in a seemingly random act of violence in south Florida.
Ryan Rogers went out for a bike ride two and a half weeks ago, but never returned home. The 14-year-old’s body was discovered the next day stabbed to death near a highway overpass not far from his house.
The killing had the quiet Palm Beach Gardens community in a panic since mid-November, with no arrests.
On Wednesday, police arrested and charged Semmie Lee Williams, 39, with the murder.
“It appears to be an absolute chance encounter between a child on a bicycle and an animal that should probably not be out on our streets,” said Palm Beach Gardens police Chief Clinton Shannon.
Police describe Williams as a “homeless drifter” from Miami, about 80 miles south of Palm Beach Gardens. His criminal history includes aggravated assault with strangulation, battery on an elderly person and violating a restraining order.
Court records show it was DNA that connected Williams to the slaying. A law enforcement database had his DNA from a previous arrest and it matched DNA found on the teen’s headphones.
Police are also looking into Williams’ YouTube channel, which shows a man who appears to be paranoid and not making sense much of the time.
Police say why he traveled from Miami to quiet Palm Beach Gardens to commit such a brutal, random crime is still under investigation. So far, they have no motive.
“This just emphasizes that an incident of this nature can happen anywhere,” Shannon said. “People need to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings no matter where they are.”