More than a week after Francis Harris’s raped and beaten body was found next to an abandoned South Miami-Dade home, police continue to gather evidence trying to prove that more than one person was responsible for the woman’s death.
“There’s a very good possibility that there might be more people involved,” said Miami-Dade Detective Daniel Ferrin.
The most powerful evidence: A statement police said they got from the teen charged with the woman’s death, in which he said he and a group of friends followed her behind the home, kicked her, then repeatedly raped her.
“Upon arrival at the residence, the victim responded to the backyard area and was followed by the males who intended to beat her,” an officer wrote in the arrest affidavit of Jeremiah Williams, 16, a Palmetto Senior High School student who was charged with first-degree murder in Harris’ death.
Never miss a local story.
According to police and family members interviewed by WPLG Channel 10, Harris, 53, slightly slowed by mental illness and missing several front teeth, was walking toward an empty home up for sale at 10215 SW 171st St., on July 7, to use its bathroom. Williams lives nearby.
But as she walked around back, several young males followed her. She ran and tripped, Williams told police, according to his arrest affidavit. That’s when “the defendant and company proceeded to kick the victim before dragging her to another area where she was raped multiple times,” the police report said.
Then, “the victim was thrown to the grown and beaten again.”
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be “blunt force trauma to the head and neck.” Harris lived about two blocks from where she died.
Harris niece Megan Burton told Channel 10 her aunt “had the mind of a kid. She didn’t have any evil.”
Another niece, Rachel Hill told the television station that Harris brushed off family concerns about her safety, saying if anything happened she’d call police.
“Many times we have told her to be careful,” Hill said.