Man Charged With Murder In Michigan 39 Years After Baby Went Missing

Thirty-nine years after an infant girl went missing and after decades of pursuit of a criminal prosecution, the ex-husband of a long-missing child's mother is being charged with murder. 

Missing infant Olisa Williams. © Provided Missing infant Olisa Williams.

Isiah Williams is in the process of being extradited from Chicago on a charge of open murder in the case of Olisa Williams, the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced this week.

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On Thursday, speaking to the press alongside Ann Arbor Police Chief Michael Cox, Nessel said it's believed Isiah Williams killed the child in an effort to control the child's mother, Denise Frazier-Daniel, as part of a cycle of domestic abuse. 

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Nessel announced the charges along with those in another case, that of the death of McKenzie Cochran involving security guards at a Northland mall.

Nessel said justice is undermined for the wrongfully convicted, but also when those guilty of crimes go free. She recalled the recent focus on the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito, a white Instagram personality.

"You shouldn’t have to look like Gabby Petito for your disappearance and your death to be treated seriously by law enforcement or by prosecuting agencies," Nessel said. 

Olisa Williams, who shares Williams' last name but is reported to not be his biological relative, went missing in 1982 when she was nine months old. 

The child's mother, Frazier-Daniel, told MLive in 2017 that she suffered abuse at the hand of Isiah Williams and that, during a separation in Ohio, he burst into the place where she was staying, hit her, and took the crying infant. 

Then, after a court demanded that he produce the child, at about 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning July 10, 1982, he is said to have driven away from another ex-wife's home with the infant, return without her and then load her things up.

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His story has changed over the years – from telling Frazier-Daniel he killed the girl, the mom said, to claiming that he has no memory because of a crash. 

The case is based in Ann Arbor, however, because he told a court in 1983 that he'd been smoking marijuana and drinking while driving with the child in the summer of 1982, parked above Island Park in Ann Arbor, fell asleep, and woke to find the child missing. 

Prosecutors in 1983 declined to file an abandonment charge and a homicide charge - though who it was against is unclear - was also denied in 2015.

However, Ann Arbor police Detective Daniel Iverson continued to pursue the case, interviewing new people, Nessel said. Through a fresh look from her office, larger than others, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, officials were able to bring the charge.

Nessel's office declined to expand on any new information ahead of a preliminary examination, when the case will be presented for probable cause to head to trial. However, Nessel did say she believes there is a misunderstanding about cases where no bodies have been found.

They can be successful, she said. 

"So while I think that some view that as a barrier to prosecution, it certainly is not a reason not to charge a case if you have compelling evidence to make the determination that an individual is responsible for another person's death, irrespective of whether or not you're able to recover the body of the deceased," she said. 

Isiah Williams is attempting to fight his extradition and will be back in court Nov. 12, her office said. 

Nessel credited Iverson and Frazier-Daniel for never giving up, and noted the announcement falls in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She said domestic violence is about control and urged those feeling unsafe or worried about a loved one to call the SafeHouse Center in Washtenaw County at 734-995-5444

"Ms. Frazier-Daniel has spent decades in the pursuit of justice for her child, and I hope today's announcement is a small measure of comfort for her," Nessel said. "A mother should never suffer the loss of her child, especially at the hands of her abuser."

With the charges being brought in both the cases announced this week, Nessel said her message to families with cold cases is to not give up hope.

Darcie Moran is a breaking news reporter and podcaster for the Detroit Free Press. She's served as an investigative reporter and covered justice issues, crime, protests, wildfires and government affairs. Contact Moran: dmoran@freepress.com. Twitter: @darciegmoran

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Man faces murder charge in Michigan 39 years after baby went missing

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/man-faces-murder-charge-in-michigan-39-years-after-baby-went-missing/ar-AAPwpGz

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