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Posted: Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:03PM

Suspect in Ahlittia North murder arrested



The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says they have apprehended a 20-year-old suspect wanted in the stabbing death of 6-year-old Ahlittia North.

JPSO Col. John Fortunato says that around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night, a subject fitting the description of Flugence was spotted in the area of Victory Drive and the Westbank Expressway in Westwego.

According to Fortunato, JPSO Third District Patrol officer Nicholas Breaux, along with two additional Westwego PD officers, spotted Flugence walking in the 800 block of Victory Drive.  Fortunato says Flugence was taken into custody without incident, and at the time of his apprehension, Flugence was found to be armed with a knife.  He faces a charge of First Degree Murder and a separate charge related to the alleged sex assault of an 11-year-old girl.

Earlier Tuesday, Sheriff Newell Normand and other Parish officials today spoke about the discovery of the body of 6-year-old Ahlittia North overnight in a garbage bin near the family's apartment.

The child's mother and step-father last saw their child alive Friday night as they were going to bed.  Saturday morning, the family called 911 when they awoke to find Ahlittia missing.

Normand said Tuesday that following the Saturday morning report that the child was missing, officers found a pool of blood near the apartment complex about seven doors down.  That blood was submitted for DNA testing, which Normand noted takes some time.

During the investigation, the JPSO named Flugence as a 'person of interest.'  Police say there was a warrant out for Flugence in connection with the alleged sexual battery of an 11-year-old.

Monday night, the DNA results on the blood revealed that blood was that of the missing girl.  Later, officers found the child's body in a garbage bin.

The coroner said an autopsy showed that North was stabbed twice in the neck and twice in the abdomen.

Officials say there were "no obvious signs of sexual assault" on the girl, but were also awaiting the coroner's results.

Today, Normand said Flugence was the nephew of the step-father, and he had periodically baby-sat the child.

"We know Matthew Flugence was in and around those crime scenes" through the weekend, according to Normand.

After interviewing Flugence's brother Russell Flugence, "We are satisfied that Russell had information about this particular crime," Normand said, "and that he revealed to us some circumstances that may implicate Matthew in the murder of Ahlittia North."

The brother is in jail on a charge of obstruction of justice, according to police.


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Topics : Law_Crime
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People : Matthew FlugenceNicholas Breaux
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