Sheriff: Suspect admitted to killing six-year-old


Posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 17 at 12:03 PM
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HARVEY, La. - The suspect wanted for the murder of Ahlittia North, 6, was in custody Wednesday morning, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

Matthew Flugence, 20, was booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with the first-degree murder of North, whose body was found stabbed multiple times in a trash can at her Harvey apartment complex on Tuesday morning. He was also booked on an unrelated outstanding sexual battery charge of an 11-year-old girl, JPSO said.

After he was apprehended, Flugence was questioned for hours at the Jefferson Parish Detective Bureau in Harvey.  He admitted to the murder of North, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. The pocket knife found on Flugence at the time of his arrest was the murder weapon, Normand said.

He was picked up in Westwego around 10 p.m. Tuesday while walking near Victory Drive and the Westbank Expressway after some tips came to 911 reporting his location. Flugence was armed with a knife at the time of his arrest, deputies said.

He was then transported to the JPCC around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Flugence is the nephew of North's stepfather, and it was not uncommon for him to babysit the six-year-old.

"If you can't trust a family member, who can you trust?" North's stepfather said.

Just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, Flugence made his first appearance before a Jefferson Parish magistrate. He will be held without bond on the first degree murder charge. The bond for his sexual battery charge was set at $50,000.

A search for North had been underway since Saturday morning, and JPSO had been searching for Flugence since Monday, when they named him a person of interest in the case. On Tuesday afternoon, Normand named him a suspect.

"What remains as an unanswered question at this point in time is, 'At what point was the body disposed of in the garbage can?'" Normand said.  Deputies said they searched the garbage cans and apartment complex for days, so they are trying to figure out exactly when North's body was transported.

Flugence's older brother, Russell Flugence, was arrested and booked with obstruction of justice on Tuesday. Russell Flugence allegedly withheld information that implicated Matthew Flugence in the murder.

The community came together since word first got out that North had vanished. On Saturday, another vigil will be held in the six-year-old's memory. There will be a march against violence to show support for North's family. It's being held at noon and will start at the McDonald's on Lapaclo in front of the Woodmere Subdivision.