ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County grand jury indicted Sanel Saint-Simon on first-degree murder charges Tuesday in connection with the death of 16-year-old Alexandria Chery.
Chery disappeared from her Orange County home in July. Her body was discovered several days later in Osceola County.
Chery's family members told Channel 9 they were relieved to learn that the 43-year-old was being charged with murder.
"We knew this great news will not bring Alex back, but it's a great step forward for justice for Alex," said Chery's uncle, Ray Joseph.
Before the discovery of Chery's body in early August, Saint-Simon, the boyfriend of Chery's mother, was charged with providing false information to law enforcement, attempted destruction of evidence and felony obstruction of a criminal investigation.
Saint-Simon was accused of lying about Chery's disappearance and trying to clean up the bloody crime scene at her home.
"We firmly believed that this will come," said Joseph. "My hope is that he spends the rest of his life in jail, in prison."
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said Saint-Simon could be facing a harsh punishment.
"The stakes are high in this indictment. Obviously the charge of first-degree murder carries possible death penalty. The state hasn't announced they're waving the death penalty at this point," said Sheaffer.
Channel 9 learned Saint-Simon is an immigrant from Haiti, initially in the U.S. illegally, who was granted temporary protection status by the Department of Homeland Security.
Saint-Simon came to the U.S. after an earthquake devastated his country four years ago.