Man tied to metro Atlanta accused of stabbing, killing 14-year-old in ‘chance encounter’ in Miami

ATLANTA — Investigators in Miami say a homeless man with ties to metro Atlanta has been accused of killing a 14-year-old boy.

Semmie Lee Williams Jr., 39, was taken into custody in Miami on Wednesday. He is accused of killing Ryan Rogers, 14, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Investigators said Rogers disappeared Nov. 15. His mother had reported him missing that night after he left on his bicycle and did not return.

His body was found the next day in a wooded area with his bike nearby. Autopsy results showed Rogers was stabbed multiple times in the head and face. His cause of death has been ruled a homicide.

Police said headphones were found at the crime scene that did not belong to Rogers. A DNA sample came back with a positive match belonging to Williams.

Investigators told WPBF-TV that a bloodstained bandana was found in Williams’ backpack, investigators said. Further analysis showed the two contributors to the bloodstains were Rogers and Williams.


Officials said while he was located in Miami, there is evidence that Williams traveled to Palm Beach County on Nov. 15 and returned to Miami the following day.

“He has no ties that we can determine to Palm Beach Gardens or Palm Beach County — none whatsoever. It’s a mystery to us why this man was in our community, but we have evidence that places him on the scene and makes him responsible for the murder of this child,” Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clint Shannon said during a news conference. “It appears to be an absolute chance encounter between a child on a bike and an animal that probably should not be out on our streets.”

Williams has been charged with first-degree murder with a weapon. His first appearance in court was Thursday morning. He is being held without bond.

Channel 2 Action News has learned that Williams has ties to metro Atlanta. We have obtained court records that show Williams has been charged in several incidents in Fulton County.

Williams has faced charges ranging from aggravated assault, strangulation and battery against a person 65 years of age or older. In at least one case in 2018, Williams took a plea deal and was banished from Fulton County. He was then ordered to reside with his mother, who lived in Sandford, Florida at the time.

Information from WPBF-TV used in this article.