An arrest has been made in the death of 12-year-old Naomi Jones, whose body was found in a creek by fishermen on Monday. According to CBS News, 38-year-old Robert Leroy Howard—who often visited the apartment complex where Jones lived with her family near Pensacola, Florida—has been arrested.
Sheriff David Morgan of Escambia County held a news conference to share details about the arrest.
Investigators found Howard while canvassing Jones' neighborhood. The man's girlfriend lived "very close" to the Jones family and he apparently knew the girl. When questioned, the suspect allegedly gave "false information" that he was in Alabama during the child's disapperance but police say surveillance video showed him by the creek.
"We've found our monster," the sheriff shared.
According to WKRG, Howard was taken into custody early Thursday and authorities believe he acted alone. Per the news outlet, the suspect is a registered sex offender who was convicted of raping two 19-year-old women in 1999.
No further details on the death were shared but the sheriff, per CBS News, said that preliminary investigation appears that Jones was suffocated. He would not comment if she was sexually attacked.
Howard is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and failing to register as a sex offender.
Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille shares that his office may seek the death penalty.
[Photo: Escambia County Sheriff's Office]