A former Goergia police officer already charged with concealing the death of a 16-year-old girl and filing a false report has now been charged with her kidnapping and murder.
Susana Morales never made it home on July 26 after texting her mother to say she was on her way. Her body was found earlier this month in a rural part of Gwinnett County, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure said Wednesday the charges against 22–year-old Miles Bryant had been upgraded, NBC News said. McClure said investigators began looking at Bryant after they found a “critical piece of evidence” — Bryant’s personal handgun — “in close proximity” to where Morales body was found on February 6.
Bryant reported the weapon missing on the morning of July 27, McClure said, making him a person of interest in the girl’s disappearance and murder.
Morales’ family reported her missing that same morning.
McClure said that between 10 and 10:30 p.m. on July 26 — when the teen had texted her mother she was headed home from visiting a friend — she “had an interaction with an individual,” now believed to have been Bryant, and “ultimately was not seen or heard from again.”
Investigators believe Morales was killed sometime between then and 2 a.m., McClure said.
“We don’t definitively know” how she died, he said. “We’re still investigating. What we do know is she died at the hand of Miles Bryant” and may have been raped.
Bryant lived at the apartment complex where Morales had gone to visit her friend, the chief said, and he served as a courtesy officer there. It’s not known, however, if they knew one another.
Bryant was fired by the Doraville Police Department after his initial arrest.
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[Featured image: Susana Morales/Gwinnett County Police Department]
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