Thursday, August 29 2013 7:14 PM EDT2013-08-29 23:14:58 GMT
(WMC-TV) - A 17-year-old is under arrest in connection with the disappearance and death of 11-year-old Jessica Williams. According to Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook, Christopher Sowell, of Gosnell,
Thursday, August 29 2013 7:09 PM EDT2013-08-29 23:09:57 GMT
(WMC-TV) - A town of just over 3,000 people is outraged that a 17-year-old is allegedly responsible for strangling and pushing 11-year-old Jessica Williams off of a bridge. Flags on the campus of GosnellMore >>
Flags on the campus of Gosnell Public Schools flew at half-mast while students and faculty suffered through a horrific loss.More >>
(WMC-TV) - Seventeen -year-old Chris Sowell is charged with murder in the death of his 11-year-old neighbor, Jessica Williams.
Josh Golden says he spent every day in school with Sowell. He described Sowell as being socially awkward and a little goofy.
"He was my close friend, and I didn't think he would ever do anything like this," said Golden.
Jessica's cousin, Amber Watson, agreed Sowell was awkward.
"I never really liked him," she said. "He would stare at you and be like 'Hey' out of nowhere and, like, go away," she said.
The murder of Jessica is an emotional issue in Gosnell. Sowell is from Kennett, Missouri. His Facebook page reveals he likes heavy metal, country rock and a band from Kennett that describes itself as part satanic music.
He got a tattoo of a human and deer skull that is a logo connected to hunting.
According to the affidavit of complaint, Sowell said that he became angry at Jessica and pushed her. When she said she was going to tell her father, Sowell said he became even more angry. He said he grabbed her by the throat and choked her until she became "wide eyed". He then pushed her over the side of the bridge into the water below.
"Jessica thought of him. She called him her best, old friend, stuff like that. They rode the same bus for years," said Watson.
Her father knew him and said he even helped search for her when she disappeared Tuesday night.
"He was right out here. Right beside me in the field looking for her. Right next to me out there looking for her," he said.
Neighbor Brenda Stacy said Sowell was left alone a lot in the trailer he lived in with his father.
"We had seen him out late at night walking the roads," she said.
Chris Sowell is behind bars on a $2 million bond charged with first degree murder. Prosecutors say he will be tried as an adult, but he cannot face the death penalty because he is a minor.