Two men have been arrested over the murder of a 16-year-old girl. The men are accused of sexually assaulting and strangling Arnesha Bowers to death. Her body was found inside her grandmother’s home in northeast Baltimore, which the suspects had set fire to.
“Killers,” said Anthony Batts, Baltimore City police commissioner. “A 16-year-old, innocent teenager... Nothing is more important than tracking down and jailing cowards who take the life of an innocent child. Nothing.”
Police say they used Bowers' phone to connect her to the two suspects. Adonay Dixon, 23, and John Childs, 20, are now in police custody for the murder. Police believe both suspects to be members of the Bloods gang, reports CBS News.
Bowers, a student at Baltimore City College, was reportedly restrained, sexually assaulted and strangled to death with an electrical cord. Police say the cause of death was asphyxiation. The house was then set on fire, reports The Baltimore Sun.
“They sexually assaulted, strangled and set fire to Arnesha,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. Her body, her bed, dresser, and a basement utility room had all been set ablaze by the suspects.
Police say the suspects knew Bowers and had been hanging out with her hours before the crime, reports WBALTV.
"They believed the house would contain items of value because Arnesha's grandmother has a job and owned two vehicles, and planned to break into the property and steal any valuables," a police report stated.
Her grandmother had brought her home and left to work an overnight shift at a hospital. Childs confessed to detectives that they followed Bowers home because it appeared she and her grandmother had money. He also confessed to the killing and implicated Dixon. They stole $500 in valuables including an iPad and a laptop from the grandmother’s home, The Baltimore Sun reports.
According to police, Bowers' grandmother returned home from work to find police at the scene of her burning home. They had already discovered the body.
Police Homicide Unit Maj. Stanley Bradford said, “The motive was evil. Could you imagine leaving your child at home and two people come into the house hell-bent on death and destruction? I can only imagine what the last moments of Arnesha’s life was like. It had to have been pure hell.”
Childs had been released from jail on bail for a felony burglary charge five days before the killing. Dixon has a long arrest record, WBALTV reports.
Both are now charged with first-degree murder.
This incident comes at a pivotal time in Baltimore. Since the arrest and death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody last April, the city has seen a surge in deadly violence. There were 42 homicides in May, making it the deadliest month in 25 years. As of June 11, another 14 have been murdered.