Jefferson Parish Sheriff / AP
This booking photo provided by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office shows Matthew Flugence, who was arrested and charged on Wednesday with the murder of 6-year-old Ahlittia North. Flugence was booked with first-degree murder in the child's death.
A man suspected of fatally stabbing a 6-year-old girl and disposing her body in a trash bin in Louisiana admitted to killing her on Wednesday morning, officials said.
Suspect Matthew Flugence had first been named a person of interest in the killing of Ahlittia North after investigators found the girl's body in a trash bin on Tuesday morning, said Colonel John Fortunato of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in the suburbs of New Orleans.
Fortunato said Flugence was arrested Tuesday night and was in possession of a pocketknife.
"He admitted it was the same pocketknife that he used to stab Ms. North," Fortunato said.
Ahlittia North’s body was found with several stab wounds to her neck and abdomen.
Fortunato said Flugence was Ahlittia North’s stepfather’s nephew and, according to family members, "often babysat for her."
Flugence gave no further explanation of his actions, Fortunato added.
After Flugence was named a person of interest on Tuesday, "we quickly learned that he molested an 11-year-old … in that same neighborhood in April," Fortunato said.
"At that point we issued an arrest warrant, charging him of sexual assault, still not knowing that he was implicated in the murder,” he said.
Officials said there was no indication that Ahlittia's mother or stepfather knew of the alleged sexual battery incident.
Shortly after releasing a description of Flugence on Tuesday, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office found and arrested him following calls from residents about his whereabouts, including woman one claiming that Flugence asked her for money “because he was running from the police,” said Fortunato.
Flugence remains in police custody and is being held without bond on charges of one count of first-degree murder along with a separate sexual assault charge, said Fortunato.
According to NBC’s New Orleans affiliate WDSU, members of the Louisiana community gathered on Wednesday morning for a prayer march in support of Ahlittia North and her family. Another prayer march is planned for Saturday morning.
First published July 17 2013, 7:15 PM