4-year-old suffocated by half-brother, deputies say

The latest after the child was found dead on Tuesday afternoon
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 8:14 AM PDT
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PELZER, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – The search for a young girl in South Carolina ended in a tragic discovery, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office adding that deputies have charged the girl’s half-brother with murder.

Joanna Lockaby, 4, was reported missing just before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, WHNS reported.

Deputies started a search for the little girl after getting a description of her from family members.

Investigators found the child’s body in a plastic bin in a wooded area behind a home a short time later.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office arrested 17-year-old William Micah Hester Wednesday in connection with Joanna’s death.

Investigators said Hester, who is the girl’s half-brother, is accused of suffocating her. The motive for the killing is unknown.

An autopsy for the girl is scheduled for Thursday morning.

The Greenville County Coroner’s Office confirmed Joanna Lockaby was the sister of Joe Lockaby, a 1-year-old boy who died in Greenville County in 2018.

According to investigators, Joe Lockaby was left in a hot car parked outside his grandmother’s home.

Janik Nix, the boy’s grandmother, was initially charged with homicide by child abuse. She pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison suspended to three years of probation.

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