News

Arrest made in May death of Quincy man

Lead Trial Attorney Josh Jones and State's Attorney Gary Farha speak on the arrest of Carlos Williams at a press conference Tuesday at the Adams County Courthouse. Carlos Williams was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of Orlando Smith. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 19, 2019 4:00 pm Updated: Nov. 20, 2019 12:25 am
Carlos Williams

QUINCY — An arrest was made Tuesday in the May death of a Quincy man whose body was discovered in May along Koch's Lane.

The Adams County Sheriff's Department and state's attorney's office announced the arrest of Carlos Williams, 55, in the death of 20-year-old Orlando Smith, who would have turned 21 Tuesday.

Williams has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, accusing Williams of killing Smith by strangulation between May 27 and 30.

Williams was arrested at the Adams County Courthouse as he appeared in unrelated cases.

Josh Jones, lead trial attorney for the state's attorney's office, said there wasn't one piece of evidence that pointed to Williams.

“Ultimately, we received some reports from the Illinois State Police Crime Lab that led us to a conclusion that we base these charges on today,” Jones said.

Investigators have no motive for Williams' reported involvement, but they do not believe it was a random event.

Smith's body was found May 30 in the 200 block of Koch's Lane. The road had been closed to traffic as Mississippi River floodwaters climbed.

At the time, the Sheriff's Department said it was treating Smith's death as a homicide, and that the location of his body did not appear to be where he died.

Jones said more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, multiple search warrants were served, and dozens of pieces of physical evidence were examined during the investigation.

“When they found the body on Koch's Lane, there really was no direction to take at first, and we went in multiple different directions, which is what you do in an investigation like this,” Jones said. “You cast a wide net. You don't want to miss anything, and eventually as you start running down these witnesses and start talking to people, that focus starts to narrow.

“As they talked to more witnesses and were able to find a timeline of Orlando's last few days, last few hours, it began to point to one person.”

Assisting in the case were the Quincy Police Department, Illinois State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service.

State's Attorney Gary Farha said, “Sheriff (Brian) VonderHaar should be commended, because sometimes law enforcement agencies get a little proprietary about their investigations. He reached out to the Quincy Police Department and the West Central Illinois Task Force. They provided officers, and I've never seen such a thorough investigation.”

Williams is being held in the Adams County Jail on $5 million bond. He will make his first appearance on the charges Thursday.

Jones said there is a belief that more people have information about Smith's death, and they are encouraged to contact the Sheriffs' Department at 217-214-7706.

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