TAMPA — A relative of slain 9-year-old Felecia Williams said Tuesday that the woman last known to have seen her alive told him she was upset with the girl for bothering her at work.
The relative, Tyrone House, said he spoke with Eboni Wiley on Saturday, the day after Wiley reported the girl missing. The woman told House a confusing story, he said, about how upset she was that the girl had come to the nursing home where Wiley, 23, works as a housekeeper.
Her boss there questioned her about the visit, House quoted Wiley as saying.
“She told me that that’s why she came to pick her up,” House said. “She bought her some Checker’s and took her to her friend’s place in Temple Terrace.”
Felecia’s body was found by a fisherman Saturday afternoon, floating off the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Pinellas County.
Wiley told investigators she picked up the girl from the girl’s house at 2009 E. Ida St. in Tampa in Friday afternoon and took her to a friend’s home at the Doral Oaks Apartments in Temple Terrace. Wiley said she took a shower and came out about 5:30 or 6:30 to find Felecia was gone. She waited several hours before reporting her missing.
On Saturday, Wiley was arrested on a charge of providing false information to law enforcement and was released Sunday on $2,000 bond. She faces no other charges.
Temple Terrace police released no further details on the case Tuesday. The agency has declined to say how Felicia died or give any information about a possible suspect. Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay has posted a $3,000 reward for any information relevant to the case.
Wiley could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Her phone is not accepting calls and no one answered the door at her home Tuesday morning or evening.
Wiley is a friend and neighbor of Felecia’s mother, Felecia Demerson.
House, who is married to a cousin of the mother, on Tuesday was helping arrange a sidewalk memorial to the little girl, nicknamed “Sugarplum,” in front of Demerson’s home.
We never imagined that anything like this could happen,” House said. “It’s like a dream that you can’t wake up from. This wasn’t some random thing.”
House said he did not know Wiley personally. He said he spoke to Wiley for the first time after Felecia was reported missing.
Demerson said police have not shared details of the investigation with her. The family is still waiting to learn how Felecia died.
A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, but she doesn’t know where yet, she said.
Asked about Wiley’s version of events, Williams declined comment and referred questions to her attorney, Ariel Garcia.
Garcia said Demerson is grateful for all the help she has been given on the multi-agency investigation. He has been fielding all the media requests for her as she grieves for her daughter.
“It’s a horrible situation all around,” he said.
Wiley has no prior arrests in Florida, records show. In January 2012, Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies picked her up at a Citgo gas station after she called police because she was having hallucinations and Satan was “trapping her mind,” according to a police report. She was taken to a treatment facility.
Wiley works as a housekeeper for Healthcare Services Group, a contractor hired by Whispering Oaks nursing home, said Leslie Vollmer, a spokeswoman for the facility.
“This is a very unfortunate, tragic situation and our hearts go out to the family of this little girl,” Vollmer said in a statement. “In regards to Miss Wiley, this is a personal issue which does not involve this facility.”