Missing Ga. Girl, 8, Is Found Dead, and Mom Is Charged After Pleading for Answers on TV
The mother of a missing 8-year-old Georgia girl who was found dead is behind bars in connection with the case.
On Tuesday morning, the body of 8-year-old Nicole "Amari" Hall was found in a wooded area two days after she disappeared, Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure said at a press conference.
Amari was reported missing Sunday morning by her mother, Brittany Hall, 27, who told police she awoke to find her daughter gone from the Hometown Studios and Suites, where they had been living.
"I woke up yesterday morning and my daughter wasn't here. The door was cracked," Hall said in an interview with WAGA Monday. "I went outside the whole place. I did not see her. I called 911."
At the press conference Tuesday, McClure announced that Hall's partner, 29-year-old Celeste Owens, had been charged with felony murder in the case.
"We will charge Celeste Owens with felony murder in connection with the death of Amari Hall," McClure said. "Additionally, Brittany Hall will be charged with concealing a death of another. We will also continue to investigate her role in this murder."
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McClure said the statements of the women did not square with the evidence police gathered, at which point investigators suspected foul play.
"At that point our investigation transitioned from a missing person case to indeed a homicide case," he said.
It remains unclear how Amari died.
"My heart goes out to the extended family of Amari Hall," McClure said. "We worked diligently on this case."
Owens and Hall both face the additional charge of first-degree cruelty to a child, according to Gwinnett County Jail records.
They did not have attorneys to comment on their behalf as of Wednesday and had not entered pleas to the charges.