GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Calling the case "extremely painful", Gwinnett County’s police chief announced Tuesday that officers have charged a woman with the murder of a missing 8-year-old girl and the girl’s mother with filing a false report.
At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Police Chief J.D. McClure said officers found the body of 8-year-old Nicole Amari Hall late Tuesday morning in a wooded area near the Stone Mill Trace subdivision at Stone Mill Trace and Stone Mountain Freeway.
"I am deeply saddened to report to you that at 10:45 this morning the body of Amari Hall was discovered," Chief McClure reported.
The discovery comes after police had searched since Sunday for the girl.
McClure said officers charged the mother’s partner, Celeste Owens, with felony murder for the girl’s death.
"We will charge Celeste Owen with felony murder in connection with the death of Amari Hall," he said. "Additionally, Brittany Hall will be charged with concealing a death of another, we will also continue to investigate her role in this murder."
Late Monday night, police charged the girl’s mother, Brittany Hall, with falsely reporting a crime and six counts of first-degree cruelty to children.
Brittany Hall had told police she woke up just before 9 a.m. Sunday morning to find the girl missing from their upstairs unit at the Hometown Studios and Suites on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
"I woke up yesterday morning and my daughter wasn't here. The door was cracked. I went outside the whole place. I did not see her. I called 911," Hall said in a Monday interview with FOX 5’s Deidra Dukes.
McClure would not reveal the cause of the child’s death, saying it was an active investigation.
Police said they suspected foul play due to inconsistencies in the women's statements.
They compared those statements with the evidence they gathered and realized those statements were indeed false. At that point, their investigation transitioned from a missing person's case to a homicide investigation.
He said his heart goes out to the girl’s immediate family and praised his officers who worked diligently to find her.
On Monday, Hall told FOX 5 she moved here about two months ago with Nicole and the girl's two younger siblings. The discovery comes after police had searched since Sunday for the girl who had autism.