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Police: Uncle held in niece’s murder gave her pills to cause miscarriage

Johnathan Quiles, 34, is charged with killing his 16-year-old niece, Iyana Sawyer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new batch of documents in the rape and murder case against a Jacksonville man suspected of impregnating and killing his teenage niece released Friday by the State Attorney’s Office indicates that three people claim he admitted killing her.

Johnathan Quiles, 34, is charged first-degree murder, among other charges, in the death of 16-year-old Iyana Sawyer, who seemingly vanished after leaving Terry Parker High School in December 2018.

The latest round of documents, which include affidavits for warrants to search Quiles’ devices and social media accounts, was released as part of the discovery process in the court proceedings against Quiles.

According to the affidavits, Sawyer left school Dec. 19, 2018, and traveled to her uncle’s workplace, a salvage yard on North Main Street. The affidavits stated that Quiles called his brother, who lives in New York, and acknowledged he was hiding his niece at his place of work.

A short time later, police say Quiles called his brother again saying “the problem is handled."

PREVIOUS STORY: Trove of photos released from search for murdered pregnant teen

Police suspect Sawyer, who had told relatives that Quiles was the father of her unborn child, was shot and killed and placed in a dumpster that was taken to the Otis Road Landfill. Investigators searched that landfill for weeks in the wake of the 16-year-old’s disappearance, but they never found her body. All they found there was a Terry Parker High library book and underwear that might have been Sawyer’s.

Also included in the latest discovery material was a letter found on Quiles’ computer that investigators believe Sawyer authored. In the letter, she told Quiles she loved him but admitted being jealous about the affection shown to her sister.

“You told me you and your brother would never do that to each other, but you’ll sleep with sisters, though,” the letter states.

In a separate report, police indicated that Sawyer told a family member that she and her sister had lost their virginity to Quiles and the pair had been vying for his attention.

In yet another report, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office learned Sawyer’s sister was pregnant in 2017 and suggested that Quiles gave her pills to cause a miscarriage. In October 2018, Quiles bought herbal drugs online and gave them to Sawyer in hopes she would miscarry, the report stated.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement processed a gun belonging to Quiles as part of the case, but they found no sign of Sawyer’s DNA on the weapon.

The day Sawyer disappeared, a family member told a 911 operator it was unlike her to take off without telling anyone.

“The only bad judgment she did was getting pregnant," the caller said. “She is supposed to graduate this year. She’s an honor student, an honor society student. No problems. This is not like her at all.”


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