Person of Interest was later identified and is not considered a suspect. (Source: WPMI)
A cancellation notice was issued Thursday afternoon saying simply "located"
PRICHARD, AL (WSFA) -
Officials in Mobile are reporting that the father of 8-year-old Hiawayi Robinson has been arrested and charged with her murder.
According to WPMI-TV, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed Hiawayi Robinson's father, Hiawatha Robinson has been arrested and charged with murder and first degree sodomy. He has been taken to the Mobile Metro jail, bond is unknown at this time.
Robinson was last seen leaving her apartment to go to her cousin's apartment in the same complex around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday but she never arrived at the cousin's house. The following day a Missing Child Alert was issued by the Alabama Department of Public Safety. 36 hours went by before a Prichard Public Works employee found the little girl's body on Rebel Road, approximately a mile from her home.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety canceled the missing child alert with a notice that simply said, "located", while multiple news outlets in the Mobile area are reporting that the body of the little girl was found in a ditch two days after she went missing.
"I was coming off Main Street, I was telling the guy who was with me I was going to check Rebel Road, and I seen the little girl lying on the ground," Johnny Williams told WKRG-TV. "We called 911, she was dead."
WPMI-TV also reported that authorities released photos of a 'person of interest' in the case after surveillance video at a gas station near the girl's apartment and the road where her body was found captured images of what is believed to be the little girl in the background.
Thursday evening, Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam held a news conference to discuss develops during which time he said officials had spoken to the woman in the video and said she is not a suspect. The mayor told news media that the woman, "offered valuable information that we will use," though he did not provide specifics. He also asked that citizen not "to use her support against her to ostracize or threaten her."
Questions as to why the Dept. of Public Safety did not issue an AMBER Alert have been raised, but officials say that alert was not activated because there was no proof of abduction at the time of her disappearance and authorities did not believe foul play to be involved.
Previously Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's office is offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person/s involved in the murder of Hiawayi Robinson.
"Dianne and I were heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of this innocent child," the governor said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "We have been praying and following the situation closely, and our prayers for comfort are with Hiawayi's family."
The governor also dispatched Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Spencer Collier, to the city in Mobile County where Robinson's body was found Thursday afternoon. He and ten State Bureau of Investigation agents remained to assist in the search efforts.