Artist's Rendering and a Tip Lead to Arrest of Woman Whose Son, 6, Died 23 Years Ago

Officials have never been able to determine how William DaShawn Hamilton died in early 1999

William DaShawn Hamilton
Photo: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

After more than two decades, authorities in Georgia have identified the body of a 6-year-old boy whose remains were found in 1999. And now, his mother faces criminal charges.

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announced a major break Wednesday in a 23-year-old cold case, revealing that William DaShawn Hamilton was the boy found dead near a church cemetery in Panthersville on Feb. 26, 1999.

A statement from Boston's office indicates grand jurors returned an indictment against Teresa Ann Bailey Black, 45, on June 28.

Black was arrested the next day in Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently awaiting extradition to Georgia.

According to Boston, Black faces two counts of felony murder, two counts of cruelty to children, and single counts of aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

She has yet to enter pleas, and attorney information for her was unavailable Thursday.

Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with two counts of Felony Murder, two counts of Cruelty to Children, Aggravated Assault and Concealing the Death of Another
DeKalb County District Attorney's Office

"For far too long, this precious little boy had no name and no story," Boston said in a statement. "Through the tireless efforts of several individuals and organizations who were determined not to let this boy be forgotten, William has been identified, and justice will be served in his memory."

According to the statement, a tipster called police in May 2020 after an artist's rendering of the boy was released to the media.

Authorities allege they acquired a DNA sample from Black earlier this year, which matches DNA discovered at the scene.

William's "significantly decomposed" remains were found in a wooded area near the Clifton United Methodist Church in Panthersville.

William DaShawn Hamilton
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

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Officials determined he was an African American male between the ages of 5 and 7 and had been dead at least three months.

William was wearing a blue and white plaid shirt, red denim jeans and brown Timberland boots.

The manner and cause of his death was never determined.

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