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Columbia homicide victim’s family to hold balloon release following arrest of suspect

EDITOR'S NOTE: The victim's name has been corrected.


The Columbia Police Department arrested John Lonce Williamson III, 27, of Columbia early Saturday morning in connection to a homicide that occurred on Friday.

According to a news release from the department, Williamson was arrested for first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

The alleged homicide happened at 10 p.m. on Friday in the 1500 block of Typhoon Court for a reported assault. According to the release, officers found an adult female, later identified as Azairah Brownlee, 27, of Columbia, who was suffering from life-threatening injuries.

Officers attempted to perform life-saving measures until Brownlee was able to be transported by EMS to a local hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries.

According to the Department, Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division quickly identified Williamson as a person of interest in the investigation.

CPD said further investigation led to Williamson being identified as the suspect. The department's patrol officers and Street Crimes unit later located him and arrested him.

Brownlee's loved ones have started a GoFundMe to help pay for her funeral expenses, with a goal of $5,000.

"Azairah was a loving mother, sister, friend, and just a great person. She has one of the biggest hearts; she was my baby sister, but I always needed her a bit more than she needed me. She was always there. She enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her daughter Zarionna and her nieces and nephews. She was loving and nurturing and will be missed," said Damien Peal, Brownlee's brother.

There will be a balloon release Dec. 10, for Brownlee at Typhoon Court in Derby ridge. Family ask to bring purple balloons.

CPD said this is an ongoing investigation and asks the public to contact them if they have any information regarding the incident at 573.874.7652 or Crimestoppers at 573.875.8477 to remain anonymous.

ABC 17 News has reached out to the department to ask for more information, including where Williamson was located.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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