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After Tragic Murder, Soul Searching in Rural Arkansas Town

Shock has turned to anger in tiny Gosnell, as those who knew Jessica Williams best wonder if they missed any warning signs that may have prevented her murder.
Gosnell, AR -- Shock has turned to anger in tiny Gosnell, as those who knew Jessica Williams best wonder if they missed any warning signs that may have prevented her murder.

Oh, the whole town is angry," said James Waganer, who lives next door to Christopher Sowell, the 17-year-old charged with murdering Williams on Tuesday night.

"He is just strange, he's just a strange fellow," Waganer said.

On Thursday afternoon, Sowell was formally charged, investigators say Sowell choked Williams and then threw her into a ditch after he became angry about something she said.

"I really don't like him," said Elizabeth Lowe.

Lowe said that Williams frequently came over to her house for dinner. On Thursday, she recounted a conversation she had with Williams three weeks ago about Sowell.

"She said, that he was touching her, and feeling of her leg, rubbing her hair, and her head, and her hand, trying to hold it and all that I was like, well, just stay away from him," Lowe said.

Lowe says she now wonders if Williams told Sowell she was gong to tell her dad.

"I told her that she just needed to stay away from him and if she felt like she needed to tell somebody to go ahead and tell and I think that is what she was going to do," Lowe said.

"He was just, there was just something off about him that I noticed," said Alyssa Sands, who was in the same grade as Sowell. "He would hang out with girls a few years younger than him.'

"It breaks my heart for that little girl and her family," she added.

Judy Smith first met Sowell during a school band trip.

"The kid was really well mannered to me, but he didn't seem to click with the older kids, he clicked with the younger ones," she said. "When my son texted me this morning and told me who it was, I couldn't believe it."

Sowell remained in jail on Thursday night on a $2 million bond. He's due back in court on September 26th.

"If it was my daughter he would have never made it to court, the state of Arkansas could feed me the rest of life, I don't...they need to kill him, that's it," said Waganer. "You got one bad apple and it just shattered country living."
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