Two Local Men Suspected In Stabbing Are Arrested
Two local men were arrested early this morning, charged with the brutal stabbing murder and rape of a McDonald Street woman over the weekend, said Waycross Police Tony Tanner.
Ryan Christopher Raulerson, 41, and Namon Wilcox Jr., 23, both of 1935 McClure St., were taken into custody overnight and both are charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit murder, homicide, rape and burglary, said Tanner.
At one point, Raulerson lived with the victim, Suzanne Stilwell, a 57-year-old white woman, who died of stab wounds, Tanner said. He said they resided together at the McDonald Street house for a short while.
“We suspect the time of death was either Saturday night or Sunday morning,” Tanner said.
He said Stilwell was not a native of Waycross and apparently has no family living here, thus police are having to “look for” her relatives. Tanner said that, so far, investigators have discovered one friend of Stilwell in Waycross.
“She came here from somewhere out west, possibly California,” Tanner said.
The body was discovered a little past noon, Tanner said, and an investigation soon compelled detectives to seek search warrants for a house on Juniper Street and a house on McClure Street, both outside the city limits, in the jurisdiction of Ware County.
Waycross and Ware County law enforcement officials executed those warrants and were able to take the men in question into custody at the McClure Street residence between 2:30 and 3:20 this morning.
“We knew the one man lived with the woman previously and we wanted to talk to him,” said Tanner. “There were some dogs in the house and if anyone had been there they would have been bitten. One of them was ferocious when we got there and that was our first clue.”
Tanner said his team “did a great job. This started out as a ‘who-done-it’ and ended up with two arrests within 12 hours.”
Tanner said city police investigators worked throughout the afternoon Monday and into the night putting the pieces together.
“I went home and left them in charge and they did a tremendous job,” said Tanner.
This is the first murder within the city limits in 2015, but, Tanner said, the “year is not starting out well,” a reference to a March 9 murder just outside Waycross.
It was only two weeks ago, Tanner pointed out, that a Waycross man shot and killed a co-worker after their supper shift at a Plant Avenue restaurant, but, Tanner said, it turns out that murder was in the county’s jurisdiction.
Tim Williams, 35, of Waycross, was shot and killed and left in a car by a canal off of Darling Avenue, Tanner said at the time.
Leon Pugh, 41, of Hazel Street, a co-worker of Williams, was arrested and charged with the murder and a second shooting, Tanner said.
Sandra Williams, 54, of Thomas Street, was also shot multiple times but survived and escaped from the trunk of the vehicle to contact law enforcement, identify the suspect and help law enforcement find where the car was hidden, Tanner said.
The more recent homicide came to light after an abandoned car was found in the county’s jurisdiction Monday and that car led lawmen to the house where they located the body of the woman, said Tanner.
The car, which belonged to the woman, was found abandoned on a dirt lane near Lejeune Road. Ware lawmen made an attempt to contact her about the vehicle but were not successful, said Tanner.
County officials then contacted city police for assistance after finding what the deputy termed “cause for concern” at the house where she lived.
Tanner said a Ware County Sheriff’s Department deputy found the car abandoned Sunday on a dirt path in the 2500 block of Lejeune Road in the county’s jurisdiction. Ware County 9-1-1 had received a call about the abandoned vehicle about 9:15 a.m. Sunday and the deputy was sent to investigate.
After learning the identity of the owner, Tanner said the deputy made attempts to locate her but was unsuccessful. On Monday, the deputy went to the house at 625 McDonald St. in hopes of finding the owner of the car. Instead, Tanner said he “found things” that made him suspicious and “concerned.”
At that point the deputy requested assistance from the Waycross Police Department. They responded at 12:46 p.m. and, after the deputy shared his concerns, a supervisor at the scene made the decision to enter the house.
Once inside, officers found the body of a white female.
Coroner Atha Lucas was dispatched to the house and she officially pronounced Stilwell dead, said Tanner.
The body has been sent to the State Crime Lab for confirmation of the cause of death and to establish a time frame regarding when she may have died.
Regarding the suspects, Raulerson is white and Wilcox is black, Tanner said, responding to a reporter’s inquiry.
The Juniper Street house was the focus of investigators who were looking for evidence there, he said.