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Saturday, Nov 22, 2014
Crime & Courts

Suspect in Tampa girl’s death faces unrelated child sex charges

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Published:   |   Updated: May 22, 2014 at 08:04 PM

The charges continue to pile up against the man suspected in the death of 9-year-old Felecia Williams - but so far, none are related to her death.

Police late Wednesday charged Granville Ritchie with four counts of having sex with a minor. The charges are in addition to the two drug charges for which he was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

The additional charges against Ritchie, 35, were filed after police interviewed a girl during the course of their investigation who told them about four sexual encounters with Ritchie since April 15, authorities said.

Temple Terrace police say they have identified Richie, 35, as a suspect in the death of Felecia, a third-grader at Edison Elementary School in Tampa whose nude body was found Saturday floating in Tampa Bay near the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Police have not said why they consider him a suspect or released additional information on Williams’ death, except that she died as the result of homicidal violence.

At Ritchie’s first court appearance in Pinellas County on Thursday, Circuit Judge Cynthia Newton opted not to change Ritchie’s $5,000 bond on his sole charge in Pinellas — possession of Ecstasy. The bond amounts for the other charges would be addressed in Hillsborough County, she said.

Ritchie said he could afford an attorney in the drug case but hasn’t picked one yet. Newton told him to return to court Monday to see if he has hired one.

Kendall Davidson, a prosecutor with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, suggested the $5,000 bond on the drug possession be increased because Ritchie is a murder suspect. Newton denied the request after a representative from the public defender’s office argued it wasn’t necessary as Ritchie was already being held with no bond on the sex charges.

Felecia, a third-grader at Edison Elementary School in Tampa, was reported missing late Friday night by a family friend who had taken the girl to Doral Oaks Apartments in Temple Terrace for a visit, police said. Eboni Wiley, 23, told investigators she took a shower, and when she got out between 5:30 and 6 p.m., Felecia was gone.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward and Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $3,000 reward for anyone who has information relevant to the investigation.

In addition to the drug and sexual assault charges he is currently facing, Ritchie has been arrested twice in Hillsborough County in the last 18 months, records show.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ritchie in May 2013 on charges he had raped his wife at gunpoint in their Riverview apartment, records show. The charges against him — felony sexual battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic battery by strangulation — were dropped after his wife, Todra Ritchie, wouldn’t cooperate with the investigation, prosecutors said.

A few months before that incident, in December 2012, Ritchie was arrested for battery for punching his wife during an argument over a cell phone, records show. Those charges also were dropped.

Ritchie’s address is listed as an apartment complex on Hollydale Place in Riverview. But a neighbor said Wednesday night that Ritchie, his wife and her two young daughters have not lived at the complex in about a year.

A memorial service is scheduled Saturday morning for Felecia. The service will begin at 11 a.m. at the Rock Church of God by Faith, 4323 E. Henry Ave., Tampa. Arrangements are being handled by Gudes Funeral Home.

Police are asking that anyone with information about Ritchie or Felecia Williams call Temple Terrace police at (813) 989-7110.

Tribune reporter Stephen Thompson contributed to this report.

Ebehrman@Tampatrib.com

(813)259-7691

Twitter: @LizBehrmanTBO

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