Sex predator indicted on first-degree murder charge in woman’s death

Victim’s body was found in wooded area

James Gafford
James Gafford (Orange County Jail)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A sexual predator accused of killing a woman then leaving her body in a wooded area before he called authorities to report it has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge, court records show.

The Orlando Police Department said James Gafford reported finding 29-year-old Kaitlyn Emery’s body in the woods near John Young Parkway and Princeton Street on April 21.

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An investigation revealed that Gafford had met Emery at a bus stop two days earlier, went into the woods with her and killed her, according to investigators.

Authorities haven’t said how the victim died.

“This is a disturbed individual. (Gafford) committed a horrible, horrible act here,” Lt. Frank Chisari said.  “He had a relationship with her at some point and he killed her though the course of this relationship.”

He was arrested on June 15.

On Friday, a grand jury heard evidence against Gafford, a registered sexual predator, and decided to indict him on a charge of first-degree murder, records show.

The indictment means that prosecutors could choose to pursue the death penalty in this case but at this time, prosecutors haven’t filed the documents necessary to do so.