A former Doraville police officer has been charged with kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old girl.
On Feb. 22, officials with Gwinnett Police Department announced they had charged Norcross resident Miles Bryant, 22, with kidnapping and felony murder in connection with the death of Susana Morales. Bryant was already in custody at Gwinnett Detention Center on charges of concealing the death of another and false reporting of a crime in connection with Morales’s death, where he remains.
Gwinnett County Chief of Police J.D. McClure announced the new charges and reviewed the timeline of events that detectives have established so far in the case at a press conference held Feb. 22.
“It is suspected that Morales encountered Bryant while walking home from a friend’s house on July 26, 2022, sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.,” said McClure. “Detectives believe that Morales was killed a short time later, between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.”
Morales’ remains were discovered Feb. 6 in a wooded area on Highway 316 in Gwinnett County.
During the press conference, police revealed that a gun connected to Bryant was found near Morales’ remains. Police said Bryant made a false report that his weapon had been stolen on July 27, 2022.
Officials stated that the motive in this case remains under investigation and at this time, it does not appear that Bryant and Morales knew each other or had any previous relationship.
“The exact cause of death is still under investigation and it may be an extended period before any additional information about the cause is learned,” stated officials.
Officials with Gwinnett Police Department said Bryant was employed by Doraville Police Department at the time of his arrest.
On Feb. 13, officials with the city of Doraville said they were “notified that a now former police officer was being served felony arrest warrants by the Gwinnett Police Department in connection with the disappearance and murder of Susana Morales.”
The statement by Doraville officials continues, “the city of Doraville and its Police Department are fully cooperating with the Gwinnett Police Department in its investigation of Mr. Bryant. Our prayers rest with the family and friends of Susana Morales and everyone else affected by this tragedy.”
According to officials with Gwinnett Police Department, Morales was last seen on July 26, 2022; she was reported missing by her mother the next day. Gwinnett police said Morales was last seen at approximately 6 p.m. when she said she was gong to a friend’s house nearby. Her family never heard from her again. Morales’ sister last saw the missing girl’s location at approximately 10:30 p.m. through an app on her phone, showing the teen near Oak Loch Trace in Norcross.