Man charged in rape, slaying of Florida girl, 6
TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- A man already in prison for burglary and stealing a car was charged Tuesday in the rape and slaying of a 6-year-old southwest Florida girl nearly two years ago, police said.
Coralrose Fullwood was 6 when she was raped and killed in September 2006.
Investigators used DNA evidence to link Patrick Murphy, 27, to the September 2006 killing of Coralrose Fullwood, North Port Police Chief Terry Lewis said.
Murphy has been charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault on a victim under 12 and kidnapping.
In 2006, Murphy lived in the same neighborhood as the girl. Her body was found a couple of blocks from her home.
Murphy has refused to speak with authorities and requested an attorney, Capt. Robert Estrada said. The jail said no attorney has been listed for him.
"He'll be given one, then hopefully through his attorney we'll be able to talk to him," Estrada said.
Murphy began serving a two-year prison sentence in Florida in February. His DNA profile was entered into a state computer database, and investigators got a match.
Lewis described the investigation as "very active" and said investigators are looking for others who may have been involved. He asked for help from the public in trying to determine Murphy's movements around that time.
"I don't understand how anybody can hurt a child in any way, especially this way," said the girl's mother, Ellen-Beth Fullwood. "I'm grateful we've gotten this far finally, but my daughter is not coming back."
Coralrose was last seen by her father early September 17, 2006, when he checked her room after he got home from his bartending job. The family noticed she was missing later that Sunday morning.
A neighbor walking his dog found the first-grader's body near a construction site two blocks from the family's home, in a newer subdivision of ranch houses surrounded by woods and pine scrub.
The little girl's slaying unsettled the community of about 43,000 residents about 65 miles south of Tampa.
Suspicion fell to Coralrose's father, Dale, after authorities searching the family's home found child pornography on a computer. He was convicted of possessing child pornography and served a year in jail. He was sent to prison in June after authorities said he violated his probation by having unauthorized contact with a child relative.
Last year, police cleared the girl's mother and siblings in Coralrose's slaying but refused to rule out the father's involvement, even though DNA evidence indicated she was sexually assaulted by someone outside the family.
Estrada said Tuesday that the father's involvement has not been ruled out, but he declined to elaborate.