Man, 18, charged with murder of niece, 5, in Ohio

HILLSBORO, Ohio - An 18-year-old man has been charged with murder in the death of his 5-year-old niece in southern Ohio, a sheriff said Monday.

Matthew Kaleb Pierson, 18, of Jackson Township, will be arraigned Tuesday in the death of Jada Beth Williams, Highland County Sheriff Ron Ward said.

Pierson was living with his niece and her grandmother at the Jackson Township home where the body was found in an attached garage on Sunday, Ward said.

The girl's grandmother called 911 shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday, Ward said. The call initially went to Adams County, and was transferred to Highland County where the home is located.

The grandmother, identified by the sheriff as 40-year-old Shawna Pierson, said on the 911 call that "my granddaughter is dead."

She also told the dispatcher on the call that the child was covered in blood.

Emergency crews found the girl dead when they arrived at the home in the county about 65 miles east of Cincinnati.

Ward said the girl's body showed trauma and "evidence at the scene indicated her death was the result of a criminal act," said Ward, who declined to release more details or comment on a cause of death or possible motive.

Another man also was taken into custody but had not been charged, Ward said.

Ward said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation was assisting the sheriff's office with the case, and the Montgomery County Coroner's Office was handling the autopsy.

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