PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (CBSMiami) – It’s a cold case that’s been unsolved since 1999. But Tuesday, Kentucky State Police, the FBI, and Charlotte County deputies announced that a second suspect has been announced in the death of 4-year-old Pilar Rodriguez of Hollywood in the late 1990’s.
Keith Wilson, 42, was taken into custody near Owingsville, Kentucky and charged with first degree murder for the death of Pilar. Wilson’s arrest came just hours after Melissa Harding-Jones pled guilty to accessory after the fact charges related to Pilar’s death.
The story began in January 1999 when police said Marco Rodriguez, Pilar’s father, gave the babysitter, Harding-Jones, permission to take Pilar to her boyfriend’s home for two weeks in the Punta Gorda area.
Harding-Jones, who was then known as Melissa Cooper, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that Wilson beat Pilar to death at the Trail Apartments Motel and then stuffer her body in a garbage bag and buried the 4-year-old’s remains.
Harding-Jones was arrested in August 2010 after cold case detectives with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department gathered what they believed was sufficient evidence against her. Harding-Jones pleaded guilty Tuesday morning as a result of the 2010 arrest.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department, Wilson surrendered to authorities without incident and will be extradited to Charlotte County, Florida to face the first-degree murder charge.