The horrific crime of the death of Janaya Thompson, 5, has the entire community reeling, asking just who could commit such a terrible crime against a child. While Julian Gray and Alberto Garcia have not been officially charged, Gulfport Police do say they are linked to this crime and for now, are persons of interest.
Although no charges in the death of Janaya Thompson have been filed, information that developed during the investigation has led to the arrest of two persons of interest. Julian Casper Gray III, 31, has been charged with rape and sexual battery in a non-related case. According to the Gulfport Police, he raped and sexually battered an adult female at his apartment in April of 2014.
Alberto Julio Garcia, 29, is being held for residential burglary. The burglary occurred last Saturday at 14475 Whitney Drive, the same address where the body of Janaya Thompson was discovered Thursday morning. Leonard Papania, Gulfport Police Chief, says, “They are persons of interest because of materials that have been gleaned in this investigation. Obviously, this is an ongoing investigation. There is a lot of forensic examination that will have a lot of bearing on this. At this time, that's where we are with them.”
Residents of the Palms Apartment Complex tell News 25 that just last week, they saw one of the suspects sitting on the steps of a building at the complex. Takyra Evans, the granddaughter of a Palms Apartments resident, says, “I’ve seen this one. Me and my brother and sister used to come out and walk around and I saw him sitting over there on the steps over in the apartment when we were walking around.”
Residents also tell News 25 that learning about these two men is very unsettling and impacts the sense of safety they feel in their own homes. Cryste Lorraine, a Palms Apartments resident, says, “I think that it is ridiculous, especially being in an apartment complex so close to so many different kinds of people, women, children. It's just scary to know that your neighbor could be a bad person.”
As it currently stands, Gray and Garcia have not been charged with anything directly related to the capital murder case of Janaya Thompson. Gray and Garcia have been transported to the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. They will be held on a $500,000 bond set by Harrison County Justice Court Judge, Brandon Ladner.