Man Arrested in 1990 Cold Case Kidnapping and Murder of 11-Year-Old California Boy


William Tillett, 11, was kidnapped and killed while walking home from school on May 24, 1990, in Inglewood. Police this week announced an arrest in the case. (Inglewood Police Department)

A 50-year-old man was charged with murder this week in the kidnapping and death of an 11-year-old Inglewood boy that dates back nearly three decades, police said.

Inglewood police last week arrested Edward Donell Thomas, a resident of Pomona, in connection with the slaying. He is being held in Los Angeles County Jail without bail. It is not clear how police linked him to the killing.

Authorities said William Tillett, then a fourth-grader, was kidnapped about 3 p.m. while walking the 10 blocks home from school in the area of Imperial Highway and Crenshaw Boulevard in Inglewood on May 24, 1990.

He had started the journey about 20 minutes earlier with two of his friends, but about six blocks from home, William said goodbye to his classmates and the children went their separate ways. It was the last time he was seen alive by family or friends.

“Walking home was very important for him,” Anne Rodman, one of William’s teachers, told the L.A. Times in 1990. “He wanted to show that he was not a baby anymore. He was in that independent stage of the growing-up process.”

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SOURCE: LA Times, Hannah Fry