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Police arrest suspect in murder of 84-year-old Mishawaka woman

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – On Tuesday afternoon police announced the arrest of a suspect in the brutal murder of 84-year-old Lois Hickey who was found beaten and stabbed to death in her East Donaldson Avenue home on December 29 of 2011.

According to investigators 19-year-old William Karimu lived just two doors down the street from Hickey and broke into her home to steal from her and ended up murdering her in the process.  Karimu was charged with murder in March 2, but the records were sealed because he had fled to Sierre Leone in Africa and detectives were worried that he’d go further into hiding if word of the charges spread.  But, after a long process dealing with international law enforcement Karimu was arrested in Africa on Tuesday.

“I can’t say much more about this case other than to say that the heinousness of this crime I think brought all that cooperation together from these folks,” explained St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak who acknowledged the work of local, state, federal and international law enforcement officers.

Dolores Richardson, 78, who lived across the street from Hickey, said she was relieved to hear of an arrest after 9-months of uncertainty.

“I started crying, I’m still so elated, but at the same time I’m sad because of what happened with her,” Richardson described.  “I haven’t been able to sleep nights, I go to Vegas for a week, I can sleep at night, and I haven’t been able to sleep here at all.”

According to Richardson, William Karimu lived with at his mother’s East Donaldson Avenue home and was a troublemaker.  Crime stopper tips led police to interview Karimu after the murder where detectives say he admitted to being in Mishawaka when the murder took place and gave a DNA sample that ended up matching blood found in Hickey’s house.

“I knew it almost had to be him,” Richardson explained.  “Then he disappeared for months.”

Police said Karimu fled to Sierre Leone to live with family.  The United States has no extradition treaty with Sierre Leone, but prosecutors were able to work with the State Department, the Department of Justice and officials in Great Britain, which has a treaty with Sierre Leone, to finally arrange for Karimu’s arrest and extradition.

“I feel sorry for his mother and dad,” Dolores Richardson said of Karimu.  “I feel sorry for them, but you know a life was taken, brutally destroyed.”

William Karimu is still in Africa awaiting extradition.  When he is returned to St. Joseph County he will face charges of Murder, Felony Murder and Burglary.

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