17-Year-Old Boy Charged In Shocking Death Of Missing Sister After Police Find Body In Plastic Bin

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

After finding a 4-year-old girl dead in the trash behind her home, South Carolina police have made a shocking arrest: the victim’s 17-year-old half-brother.

According to reports, Joanna Lockaby was reported missing just before 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. After getting a description of the child from her family members, deputies from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office immediately began searching for her. The search ended all too quickly after it began, with investigators finding the little girl’s body in a plastic bin in a wooded area behind her home. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

While speaking to WYFF after the body was found, Greenville County deputy coroner Mike Ellis said the child died sometime Tuesday, adding that the office would treat the death as “suspicious” for the time being. He told the station:

“Anytime we find a small child out in a wooded area, we treat that as a suspicious death and we work down. That’s to make us not … miss anything. If you start looking at it as something other than that, you might miss something.”

On Wednesday, deputies cuffed William Micah Hester, Joanna’s half-brother who lived in the same home, and charged the teen in connection with her death. Investigators claim Hester suffocated the young girl, which contributed to her passing. However, the full cause of death has not been revealed.

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The sheriff’s office said in a statement that the GCSO and the Greenville County Coroner’s Office are still investigating the case, “including the motive” for Joanna’s killing. The coroner’s office is expected to perform an autopsy on the child on Thursday morning.

Hester was transported to the Greenville County Detention Center after his arrest. He appeared before a judge for a bond hearing on Wednesday, during which the teen was denied bond.

During the hearing, the suspect’s father, William Hester, insisted the teen didn’t kill his sister on purpose, telling the judge:

“There’s plenty of people who would testify that Micah would not do anything like this on purpose. I know my boy, he’s never been in trouble and he loved his sister… We lost Joanna. I just don’t wanna lose my son.”

Sadly, this wouldn’t be the first tragedy for the Lockaby family. The Greenville County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Joanna was the sister of Joe Lockaby, a 1-year-old who died of an apparent heat stroke in a parked vehicle in Greenville in 2018.

The boy’s grandmother, Janik Nix, was charged with homicide by child abuse. She pleaded guilty in the case and is out on parole, per the Department of Corrections.

As for William Micah, he will remain in the Greenville County Detention Center before being transferred to the Juvenile Detention Center in Columbia.

[Image via Greenville County Sheriff’s Office]

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