Police in Pensacola, Florida, arrested an ex-convict from Alabama on Thursday in connection with the kidnapping and killing of 12-year-old Naomi Jones, reported CBS News.
During a news conference, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Robert Letroy Howard, 38, "frequented" the apartment of his girlfriend who lives in the same Aspen Village apartment complex where Jones lived with her family.
"We've found our monster," Morgan said.
Jones went missing last Wednesday and was found dead in a creek by a fisherman on Monday.
During the initial investigation, officials questioned Howard who gave investigators "false information" that he was in Alabama during Jones’s disappearance.
According to Morgan, Howard was captured on surveillance near the same creek where Jones was discovered.
Howard’s record shows he was convicted in 1999 on two counts of sexual assault and rape and served 15 years in an Alabama prison, police said.
Althea Walker, the sister of Howard, told News 5’s Katrice Nolan, “I am here for my brother and he’ll always be my brother.”
In the interview with News 5, Walker defended her brother and disagreed with the way he was portrayed by the sheriff.
“I want people to know he is not a monster,” Walker said.
The suspect is currently being held on $600,000 bond and will most likely be charged with first-degree murder. This could be a death penalty case, said Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille.
(Photo: Naomi Jones via Instagram)