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Man accused of tampering with evidence in burned body case

June 30, 2021 GMT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida have identified the 35-year-old woman whose burned body was found earlier this month near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

The name of Alisha Winfield of Tampa was included in an affidavit filed in the arrest report of Fred Williams, 55, who is charged with tampering with physical evidence in the case, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The woman’s body was found June 9 and Williams was arrested on June 19, the newspaper reported. No one has been charged so far in Winfield’s death.

But the affidavit revealed new connections between Williams and the crime, the Times reported.

Winfield’s family filed a missing person report with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on June 9 when she failed to return home after working a night security job, according to the report. Her family found her car, with her wallet and other personal effects inside.

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The arrest affidavit said the family told investigators it looked like there had been a struggle inside the car.

As deputies investigated, Williams, who lives nearby, approached and asked what they were doing. Investigators noted that Williams had burns on his lower legs, which he told them came from a gas station, the report said.

Later that day, authorities found Winfield’s body near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

A license plate reader at the bridge’s toll plaza registered William’s light-colored car headed south just after 7 p.m., and he was the only person visible in the vehicle.

Williams told investigators that Winfield had taken a shower at his apartment. Later they found a piece of fabric similar to a bedsheet on Winfield’s body, the report said.

Detectives search Williams’ apartment and found that bedding and a mattress had been stained by bleach. They found clothing believed to belong to Winfield inside the apartment as well, the report said. And tests indicated the presence of blood in Williams’ apartment and car.

Investigators said surveillance video shows Williams rolling a white cooler from his apartment and loading an object into his car June 9. The cooler also tested positive for blood, the report said.

Williams is being held on a third-degree felony charge of tampering with physical evidence, records show. Records do not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.