When the lifeless body of 2-year-old Adrionna Williams was discovered by a dog walker in a ravine in Swissvale, Pennsylvania, on Sunday just 40-odd minutes after she was reported missing by her family, police quickly discovered that the placement of her body was not indicative of her having died at the location. It has also led authorities to believe that no stranger was involved in the toddler’s death.
Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman stated in a news release, according to a June 15 Associated Press (via ABC News) report, “The investigation is ongoing and at this stage we do not believe the child was abducted by a stranger.” He would later tell KDKA (Pittsburgh), “We do not believe the child walked there from her Wilkinsburg home. It’s too far. We believe the child was placed there after her death.”
Authorities did not release details surrounding the body placement or the state of the body of little Adrionna Williams, nor did they say how far the body was from her Wilkinsburg home. According to Fox News, the Allegheny County medical examiner performed a preliminary autopsy Monday but would not disclose the findings, stating that the determination of cause and manner of death would have to wait until more tests were conducted. In the meantime, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation as a homicide.
Swissvale police Chief Greg Geppert, who was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene after the dog walker found the body, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Adrionna Williams mystery was “very upsetting” to those involved in the case. He said the body had been found without any signs of trauma but there had been a “brush burn” on the child’s face. She was near an apartment complex in a wooded area, her body resting on an embankment and near some piles of dirt.
“There’s nothing there as far as a crime scene or anything like that to indicate that she was killed there or anything like that,” Geppert said. “For her to be where she was at, she was absolutely placed there.”
Geppert said he and his officers heard on the police scanner to be on the lookout for a missing 2-year-old girl whose family had reported her missing at 7:05 p.m. (It was later revealed that Adrionna Williams’ family had not seen her for thirty minutes when they made the 911 call.)
According to the family, the 2-year-old walked away from the house. According to WTAE (Pittsburgh), her body was found less than 2-and-a-half miles from her home in Wilkinsburg just over an hour later. This has given rise to police suspicion that she did not walk to the location by herself.
“Their claim is that she walked away from the house,” Chief Geppert said. “That is absolutely being investigated by the county police.”
WTAE also reported that the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office is currently looking into whether there may have been public surveillance cameras in the area that might have relevant information. The Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for assistance in the Adrionna Williams case as well, especially if anyone has information regarding suspicious activity in the Swissvale area between the 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. If so, they are urged to call the County Police Homicide Unit at 412-473-1300.
There is now a makeshift memorial near wear the child’s body was found. According to Lt. Schurman, Adronna Williams would have been 3 years old next month.