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Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole for 1982 Homicide of Ann Arbor Infant

LANSING – Today, Isiah Williams, 77, of Chicago, was sentenced by the Hon. Patrick Conlin of the 22nd Circuit Court in Washtenaw County to spend the rest of his life incarcerated, without the possibility of parole, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Williams was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder, including theories of premeditated and felony murder, by a Washtenaw County jury in connection to the 1982 disappearance and presumed death of his then 8-month-old infant daughter Olisa Williams.

“Our law enforcement partners and prosecutors in my office perform incredible work in pursuit of long-awaited resolutions for cold case victims,” Nessel said. “This significant conviction is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, cold case homicides the Department has ever handled. It exemplifies our unwavering commitment to resolving these cases, ensuring that justice finally arrives for Olisa even after such a long and painful road. While no sentence can truly mend the hearts of Olisa’s loved ones, I hope today brings them a measure of solace and a sense of closure.”

Olisa’s mother appeared at sentencing and read aloud a victim impact statement, telling the Court, “Isiah’s silence is a cruelty beyond measure. You have taken from me the most precious gift from God, and now you deny me the chance to lay her to rest. You may think that your silence will protect you, but it will only add to your guilt and shame.

“You may have taken my Olisa’s life, but you will never take away my love for her and I pray somehow, I’ll be able to bring her home to rest,” Olisa’s mother continued.

Williams took Olisa from her mother’s arms during a physical altercation on April 29th, 1982, in Ohio and transported her to Michigan, where she was last seen alive in the summer of that year in Williams’ custody. Olisa was never found and declared deceased by the Washtenaw County Probate County in 2023. Ann Arbor police requested the Department of the Attorney General review the case in early 2021. The open-murder charge was brought against Williams in October of that year.

Portions of this project were supported in part by Grant No. WE AX 0030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


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