My “Homesick News” from my beloved Florida:
The beautiful Clearwater Beach.
Just west of Tampa, about halfway down the State of Florida, on the Gulf Coast.
Its Paradise….(for most)
But a family in Tampa probably doesn’t think much of their home as paradise much these days now that an old wound has been re-opened, so that it can finally be closed.
Tampa police arrested a 15 year old’s killer after 9 years! My thoughts are with those who grieve for this child, and with the spirit of the little girl turned Angel taken in such a horrible way.
This is a reminder that you can never be too careful, even in your own backyard. This tragedy happened and her body was found 3 miles from the victim’s home, a crime committed by a sex offender who did not know the victim.
She was only 15 years old, but still a child when she was killed 9 years ago in and found Decenber 7, 2000. But with DNA stemming from a 2008 crime leading to the arrest of her killer, closure may have been found, but I shudder to think of all the possible unknown victims of this monster that may never be revealed during those 8 years in between.
Thank goodness this awful man is behind bars where he won’t hurt any more children.
By Rebecca Catalanello, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, September 11, 2009
He said he never met her, never saw her, knew nothing about her. But Tampa police say Carl Chavers killed her.
Nine years ago, 15-year-old Laquetta Chael White left her Grant Park home for a dentist’s appointment on Davis Islands only to be found dead 3 miles from home.
Until now, her mother has had few answers as to how, on Dec. 7, 2000, her daughter ended up naked and discarded, her dead body lying in an alley next to Connie’s Restaurant at Oberry Street and 21st Avenue.
But Detectives Eric Houston and John Columbia this week brought Carla Wilson the closure she desired.
It came in the form of first-degree murder and sexual battery charges against Chavers, 40, a man police say lived three houses away from Laquetta’s 5606 Terra Ceia Drive apartment building at the time of the killing.
Houston said DNA gathered from Chavers during a 2008 sexual battery case matched that found under Laquetta’s fingernails.
They believe he’s the man who abducted and strangled Laquetta after she left home at 9 a.m., planning to board a bus for a dental appointment she never kept.
When Houston and Columbia questioned him, Chavers denied the crime. But Thursday, he told police he was living in the neighborhood, Houston said.
Chavers is incarcerated at Tomoka Correctional Institute in Daytona Beach, where he is serving a 24-year sentence for lewd and lascivious sexual battery involving a 13-year-old girl, including a charge that he impregnated her.
The night before Laquetta died, her mother cooked her daughter’s favorite dinner: sausage, stewed tomatoes and okra over yellow rice.
As Wilson told the St. Petersburg Times nine years ago, she and Laquetta had a dance contest and laughed. “She was actually being the little girl I wanted her to be,” Wilson said back then.
The next day, Wilson, who worked as a school bus aide, passed by the homicide scene on her daily bus route as detectives were working it.
She had no idea until later that the person detectives were tending to was her own daughter.
Houston, who has managed about 12 cold cases since joining the squad in 2005, said it feels good to share news of an arrest with a family member who has lived for years without knowing.
“That’s the best part,” he said.