911 operators in St. Petersburg, Florida, received an alarming 911 call on July 31, 2021, when a passerby called to inform them that they had witnessed a murder. Once the police reached the spot, they found Joana Peca, a 27-year-old mother of two, dead inside her vehicle. Investigation Discovery’s ‘In Pursuit With John Walsh: Last Ride’ chronicles the brutal slaying and charts out the police investigation aimed at delivering justice to the victim. Let’s delve into the details surrounding this gruesome murder and find out where Joana’s killer is at present, shall we?
How Did Joana Peca Die?
Joana Peca was just 27 at the time of her murder and resided in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her two kids. While her children had different fathers, they meant the world to her, and she prioritized them over everything else. Joana’s mother, Eleni Peca, claimed that her daughter was a wonderful mother, and people who knew the 27-year-old described her as a kindhearted and generous individual who met everyone with a smile and never hesitated to help. She also had a lot of friends and appeared to be in a happy relationship. Yet, people had no idea of the trouble brewing underneath, making Joana’s death all the more shocking.
On July 31, 2021, 911 operators in St. Petersburg, Florida, received a frantic call from a witness who claimed to have found an unresponsive woman with two children inside a vehicle. When first responders reached the location, they found Joana locked inside the car with the windows rolled down. Her four-year-old child from a previous relationship was sitting in the backseat with a terrified look on his face, while her child with her then-boyfriend was in Joana’s lap.
Once authorities met the witness who called the incident in, she claimed she had seen a man walk up to the car before shooting Joana at point-blank range. Investigators wasted no time in breaking into the car, and once they recovered the victim’s body, they noticed she had been shot multiple times in her face. Thankfully, both her children were unharmed, although they were petrified, and an autopsy later determined that she had died from the bullet wounds.
Who Killed Joana Peca?
Although Joana did not have a lot of enemies, investigators received a breakthrough early in her murder investigation as several eyewitnesses had seen a man walk up to Joana’s car before shooting her dead. Using the eye witnesses’ help, the police soon came up with a sketch that resembled Benjamin Williams, aka Bambi, who, according to authorities, was a person of interest in a few other homicides. However, with him nowhere to be found, the police decided to canvass the area around the murder and interview Joana’s acquaintances to explore other leads.
Authorities did not have to wait long for another lead as, during the interview, they learned that Benjamin was in a relationship with Joana Peca and that they even shared a four-month-old child. Since the couple did not live together, they co-parented the infant, and she let him spend some time with his son. Still, their relationship wasn’t perfect, and detectives learned that the pair often found themselves in violent altercations.
According to reports, since Joana was supposed to meet Benjamin on July 31, 2021, he called her and asked her to come near the Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery. Police suspect that he chose this location as the area doesn’t see a lot of footfall at that time of the day. Their suspicions were strengthened when authorities found forensic evidence linking Benjamin to Joana’s murder. Thus, without wasting any time, law enforcement officials charged him with murder and put out an arrest warrant in his name.
Where Is Benjamin Williams Now?
Unfortunately, Benjamin Williams remains missing to this day, and authorities consider Joana’s murder an ongoing investigation. There is an active manhunt for the suspect, and law enforcement officials are offering up to $20,000 for any information that would lead to Benjamin’s arrest. Besides, to encourage the public to call in with tips, Crime Stoppers Florida has come up with an additional $5000 reward.
Nevertheless, readers should note that Benjamin is suspected of being a person of interest in a few other homicide cases in St. Petersburg and is considered armed and dangerous. Besides, the police mentioned that he has a lengthy criminal record and has been arrested over 40 times on various charges related to drug possession, armed robbery, aggravated battery, and grand theft, among others. Even though Benjamin’s current whereabouts remain unclear, the police are confident about apprehending him and bringing much-needed closure to the victim’s family.