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Georgia police officer arrested in connection with death of 16-year-old girl who was missing for 6 months, authorities say

<i>Gwinnett County Government</i><br/>Susana Morales's remains were found last week after she was reported missing in July
Gwinnett County Government
Susana Morales's remains were found last week after she was reported missing in July

By Jamiel Lynch and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

An Atlanta-area police officer has been fired and arrested on suspicion of concealing the death of a 16-year-old girl whose remains were found last week, some six months after her family last saw her, authorities say.

Miles Bryant, a 22-year-old Doraville, Georgia, police officer, was arrested on preliminary charges of falsely reporting a crime and concealing the death of another in connection with the death of Susana Morales, the Gwinnett County Police Department said in a news release Monday.

Bryant was employed as a police officer in Doraville, an Atlanta suburb and DeKalb County city that neighbors Gwinnett County, police said.

Bryant was being held Monday in county jail without opportunity for bond, Gwinnett County police said. Details about what precisely he is accused of doing and what led investigators to him weren’t immediately available.

Bryant was fired from the Doraville Police Department Monday after officials were made aware of the charges against him, a city official said. He was with the department for nearly two years, having started in May 2021, the official said.

CNN was unable to determine whether Bryant has an attorney.

The remains of Morales, a resident of Norcross — a city some 20 miles northeast of Atlanta — were found February 6 near a highway in eastern Gwinnett County, after a passerby reported seeing what looked like human remains in the woods, police said.

Investigators still are trying to determine the teen’s manner and cause of death, the Gwinnett police release said.

Morales had been missing since the night of July 26, 2022, when she texted her mother that she was walking home from a nearby friend’s house. She never made it home, according to police.

The teen’s cell phone and video footage showed Morales walking toward her home that night, police said, citing, in part, a location application. Investigators believe she may have gotten into a vehicle, Gwinnett County police said in late January.

“Our prayers rest with the family and friends of Susana Morales and everyone else affected by this tragedy,” the city of Doraville said in an online statement.

Doraville was notified Monday afternoon “that a now former police officer was being served felony arrest warrants” by Gwinnett County police in connection with the Morales case, the city’s statement reads.

“The city of Doraville and its police department are fully cooperating with the Gwinnett (County) Police Department in its investigation of Mr. Bryant,” the statement adds.

Authorities are encouraging anyone with information related to the case to contact Gwinnett County police or submit an anonymous tip through CrimeStoppers.

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CNN’s Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.

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