Family thankful for arrest made in Inglewood cold case

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- A local family spoke out Wednesday about the arrest of a suspect accused in the Inglewood murder of a young boy nearly 30 years ago.

Ruth Tillett wept as the mayor and police chief of Inglewood announced an arrest in the murder of her 11-year-old son.

It was May 24, 1990. William Tillett was walking home from school around 3 p.m. when he was kidnapped. His body was found later that day in a Hawthorne neighborhood.

For 29 years, detectives searched for William's killer.

Then, last Thursday, 50-year-old Edward Donell Thomas, of Pomona, was arrested. He was charged with murder with a special circumstance, which could make him eligible for the death penalty.

"I just wanted to thank the Inglewood Police Department for their perseverance and all their efforts in helping get this case closed," said the victim's brother, Hubert Tillett. "With us being so close, I just want to keep the momentum going, and I just want to plead with the community to just come forward, take a look at this picture and if anything jogs your mental rolodex from three decades ago, just please contact them."

Inglewood Mayor James Butts and Police Chief Mark Fronterotta were with the department when William was killed. They wouldn't discuss what evidence led them to arrest Thomas, but they were both relieved an arrest was finally made in a case they said the department never gave up on.

"I got to be honest with you. I took a deep breath and had a pause, moment of silence in my office and there was also a moment of happiness we could probably, hopefully, bring some closure to this horrific event, to the family," Fronterotta said.

A search in the case is not over. Authorities said they believe Thomas had an accomplice, who they are still looking for.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call Inglewood Police Department homicide detectives Han or Oppelt at (310) 412-5246. Refer to case #90-9864.
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