Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Rockford rapper’s body found, suspects charged

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – Two men are in custody after the body of a missing 23-year-old Rockford man was discovered outside the city, Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea announced Friday.

O’Shea said investigators working the missing-persons case involving William Pickering, a rapper otherwise known as Billy Da Kid and EBE Bandz, located a crime scene in the 5200 block of Inidanhead Avenue Thursday. From there, O’Shea said police were led to an area in unincorporated Winnebago County, where Pickering’s remains were discovered. 

William Arzate, 22, of Rockford, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death. Manuel Ramirez, 22, of Rockford, faces a single count of concealment of a homicidal death. 

A third man, 20-year-old Dakota Graff, is wanted on a number of outstanding warrants in unrelated cases. 

A cause of death or exactly where Pickering’s body found is not being released at this time. 

Pickering was reported missing Saturday, June 1, after he was involved in a dispute with two teens near Court Street and Fisher Avenue. His car was later found behind his apartment complex. His dog was located inside his apartment and turned over to animal control. 

O’Shea said the investigation is ongoing. 

“We are looking for other persons of interest,” he said.

Arzate’s bail is set at $1 million. Ramirez is being held on a $500,000 bond. Both men are in the Winnebago County Jail.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Dakota Graff is urged to call police. 

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