Christina Williams disappeared from her home in Fort Ord, California. She was only 13, and her family had recently shifted to the States from Japan. Christina’s remains were found seven months later, a few miles down her home. After an excruciating investigation, the police were able to zero in on Charles Holifield, who had already been convicted for multiple sex offenses. Investigation Discovery’s ‘On the Case with Paula Zahn’ (now available on discovery+) explored the case in an episode ‘Christina’s Story.’ If you are curious to know more about Holifield, we have you covered.
Who Is Charles Holifield?
Charles Holifield was a suspect in the murder of Christina Williams. Christina, a teenager, disappeared from her home when she went out to walk her dog. After some time, her mother found the dog wandering in the streets with his leash still on, but there were no signs of Christina. A massive search ensued. Several witnesses came forward, and there were false alarms about the discovery of Christina’s body. However, in January 1999, the search for the young girl ended in a devastating find. Christina’s skeletal remains were discovered from an area a few miles down her house. The body had been decomposed to the extent that the cause of death could not be determined. The circumstances, however, led the police to believe that it was a homicide.
The suspect Charles Holifield had been found trespassing areas of Fort Ord, which were restricted, twice in 1997. Witnesses said that Holifield had grown up in Fort Ord and knew the area very well. Holifield was also a convicted sex offender. He was interviewed repeatedly by the FBI, but he denied having any involvement in the murder. He also said he did not have an alibi for the night on which Christina had disappeared. But when the FBI contacted a former girlfriend of Holifield’s, she gave an alibi for Holifield on the night of the murder. However, she recanted this alibi later in 2011, saying that she had been reportedly threatened by Holifield to make up an alibi for him. Holifield was involved in two prior sexual assault convictions. He had attacked, strangled, and raped two teenage girls in 1979 and 1983. Holifield was arrested in April 2017, after his DNA matched the DNA from the sperm cells retrieved from Christina’s underwear.
Where Is Charles Holifield Now?
After his arrest in 2017, Charles Holifield waived his rights to a jury trial in December 2019. This allowed him to remove the possibility of a death sentence. In March 2020, the case was taken to a non-jury trial. The trial saw testimonies from different witnesses. Among them was Charles’ ex-wife, who had claimed that Charles had never shown any violent behavior in their relationship. However, the prosecution presented an audio recording to the court in which the ex-wife could be heard talking to a 911 line complaining that Charles had hit her the previous night and also pushed her in the altercation. Two other witnesses were the victims of Holifield’s sexual assault in 1979 and 1983. They took the stand and provided testimonies to their respective assaults.
At the end of his trial, Judge Pamela Butler found Charles Holifield guilty of kidnapping, raping, and murdering Christina Williams. He was almost immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judge Butler remarked that the evidence transparently showed that Christina William’s death was a homicide, and “the DNA evidence is overwhelmingly convincing and persuasive.” Holifield is currently serving his sentence in Mule Creek State Prison.
Read More: Where Are Christina Williams’ Parents Now?