- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A Gary man has been charged with murder and fraud for allegedly strangling the mother of his infant daughter, then selling her car and shopping with her welfare benefits, authorities say.

Kareem Jahbbar Williams, 22, was arrested late last week in connection with the slaying of Diamond Lewis, 22, of Merrillville. Williams told 24-year-old girlfriend Alexis Alexander of Gary he argued with Lewis over the paternity of 2-month-old Morgan Williams, The (Munster) Times reported (https://bit.ly/24hSZe7 ), citing a probable cause affidavit.

Alexander also is charged with fraud. She and Williams were being held Tuesday in the Lake County Jail.

Lewis’ burned body was found in an abandoned home in Gary late Thursday. She and her daughter had been missing since April 17. The child was found safe Tuesday in Gary, police have said.

After Williams strangled Lewis, he and Alexander later dumped her body in the abandoned home, and Williams later returned there to use lighter fluid to burn Lewis’ body, court records said.

Williams and Alexander sold Lewis’ car to an auto dealer and used the victim’s state-issued Hoosier Works welfare benefits card to go shopping on April 15, 16 and 17, the probable cause affidavit said.

Cornelius Lewis, Diamond’s father, reported his daughter and the baby missing April 16 after last speaking with her April 12. The two usually spoke every day or two, police have said.

On Tuesday, the baby’s paternal grandmother provided police with the possible whereabouts of the child and later that day brought the girl to the Merrillville Police Department. She told police the child had been with her father in Gary, the affidavit says. The baby was placed with Child Protective Services, police said.

Alexander and another woman went to the Gary police on Thursday with information on Lewis’ whereabouts. Alexander told investigators Williams arrived at their home in Lewis’ car and she went out to confront him, the affidavit said. When Alexander got in the car, she saw Lewis laying lifeless in the backseat.

Investigators are still trying to determine when and where Lewis actually was killed, Merrillville police Cmdr. Jeff Rice said.

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com

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