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Arrest made after homicide of Florence 70-year-old

Diana Lynn Pier was found dead on County Road 245 on Aug. 4. Officials believe it was "an unprovoked random act of violence."

FLORENCE, Texas — A 26-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, Aug. 13, for murder after the death of a 70-year-old woman found near Florence earlier this month.

John Foster, the commander of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office (WCSO), said that at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, Williamson County received a 911 call regarding a shooting in the 4500 block of County Road 245, just outside of Florence. 

When deputies arrived, they found a 70-year-old woman – later identified as Diana Lynn Pier of Florence – dead in the roadway. 

On Saturday, Aug. 13, authorities arrested Joshua Anthony Gilbreath from Pflugerville in connection with the death.

Credit: Williamson County Sheriff's Office
Joshua Anthony Gilbreath

Deputies said Gilbreath was turned over to Williamson County detectives by the U.S. Marshals Office after being located in a parking lot at 2051 Gattis School Road in Round Rock around 3 a.m. He was charged with murder and taken into custody without incident.

“We believe this was an unprovoked random act of violence. The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office appreciates the support that the Williamson County community has shown towards the solving of this tragic crime,” said Foster.

Foster said Pier was in Round Rock that day and was traveling toward her home in Florence after meeting with a family member. Foster said it is believed that Pier might have stopped to help someone who was in need and "for whatever reason, she was shot." A neighbor in the area called 911.

"We're talking about a 70-year-old churchgoing woman, a pillar of the community in Florence. Most everybody knew her. This is one of those cases that you … when something like this happens in a very rural part of the county, it really throws everybody for a loop," Foster said.

Gilbreath is currently in the Williamson County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Foster said the WCSO has reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety's Criminal Investigations Unit to assist in this case.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1800-253-7867 or the Williamson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 512-943-1311.

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