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Three Florida brothers have been arrested and charged with the 2006 murder of a teen girl whom authorities say was killed because they falsely believed she was pregnant.
The body of 16-year-old Amber Woods was discovered by a driver on the side of a road in 2006 in Manatee County, Florida, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported at the time. Her body was reportedly staged to appear as though she were the victim of a sexual assault, but an autopsy showed this not to be the case, the Bradenton Herald reported.
Leads eventually dried up and her murder became a cold case. However, new technology and investigative efforts have now led to three arrests in her death.
The brothers — Ralph Williams, Tyjuan Williams, and Jamaine Brown — were arrested last week and charged in connection with the teen’s murder, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells announced during a Monday morning press conference.
Both Ralph, 36, and Tyjuan, 32, have been charged with Woods’ murder. Brown, their half brother, pleaded no contest on Friday to being an accessory to murder after the fact.
Wells explained on Monday that Woods’ friends, as well as Ralph Williams, believed before she was killed that she was pregnant. Ralph Williams, who was 20 at the time, apparently feared because Woods was underage that he would get into legal trouble if he had impregnated her. That’s why he allegedly conspired with his siblings to have Woods killed instead, the sheriff said. Wells claimed that the brothers kidnapped the teen before killing her.
“They got out of the car, and Tyjuan shot Amber once in the back,” Wells said on Monday. “Jamaine and Ralph then dragged her deceased body off the roadway into the high grass before fleeing the scene.”
When an autopsy was performed on Woods after her death it showed that she was not, in fact, pregnant.
The Manatee Homicide Investigation Unit began taking another look at the case in April 2019, and new cellular tracking software soon led investigators to the brothers. Investigators noted during the presser that they found a digital "diary" which proved the siblings were lying about their whereabouts on the night of Woods’ death.
Detectives charged Brown, who was incarcerated on an unrelated matter, in May with kidnapping. He made a plea deal in November, admitting to and detailing the 2006 kidnapping and murder.
“We are ecstatic. Justice has been proven, it’s just taken a long time,” Amber’s sister, Crystal Moses, said during Monday’s press conference. “As you know, her life ended and they continued to be able to walk the streets and live their lives. Well now, we can walk in peace and they won’t have that right, just like she didn’t. I think we get justice from that.”
It's unclear if any of the brothers have a lawyer.
Wells called the brothers "cold-hearted" on Monday.
"This young girl had her entire life in front of her and they treated her like she was nothing," he said.
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