Ronkeya Holmes case update: Skeletal remains of woman, child found (video)
A grim discovery has been made in the case of Ronkeya Holmes. Ronkeya Holmes and her 3-year-old daughter, Masaraha disappeared in October 2009. The Georgia native arrived in Winter Haven, Florida on October 3, 2009 to pick up her daughter from her father, Lester Ross. Ronkeya had left Masaraha with her father in April, 2009 as she completed her college courses. When she arrived in Winter Haven on October 3, 2009; Lester Ross told her that their daughter was visiting an out-of-town uncle. Lester had promised to bring Masaraha to her on October 4, 2009; he never showed. Ronkeya returned to Georgia, contacted law authorities and filed a police report. She came back to Winter Haven a week later. By October 18, 2009; both Ronkeya and Masaraha were missing.
Lester Ross’s cousin, Joseph Wilcox was arrested on October 18, 2009 for a crime unrelated to the disappearance. He was driving Ronkeya’s car. On October 23, 2009, Lester Ross was questioned about the last time he saw his daughter and Ronkeya. He told authorities that on October 18, 2009, he delivered his daughter to Ronkeya at a Wal-Mart. When authorities recovered Ronkeya’s vehicle, they found her luggage. Authorities officially declared Ronkeya and Masaraha as missing. Their case was listed as “endangered missing” with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
On December 22, 2010, a joint announcement was made by Winter Haven Police, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announcing skeletal remains were discovered in a shallow grave dug in an orange grove.
Acting upon a tip, authorities used cadaver dogs and radar devices to locate the skeletal remains buried in the orange grove. Though DNA testing must be conducted to get a positive ID, reports say that the tip stated both mother and daughter were buried in the orange grove located near Dundee Road and Sage. Police have said the remains are those of an adult and child.
Winter Haven Police Chief Gary Hester said, “There’s two sets of skeletal remains in the same shallow grave. It’s pretty apparent this is our little girl and her mama.”
Lester Ross was arrested last Friday on charges of grand theft and failure to pay child and spousal support. Lester Ross was renting a home located at 703 Hemenway Drive in Winter Haven, Florida and has been accused of stealing utilities.
Forensic experts are working to positively identify the remains. You may see a video report and interview with Winter Haven Police Chief Gary Hester in the video player to the left.
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