He was likely stalking the child for weeks before.
Norcross, GA — Earlier this month, the search for 16-year-old Susana Morales came to an end when her remains were found some 20 miles from her home. She’d been missing since July 26, 2022. She was last seen walking home on surveillance footage but tragically would never arrive. Her disappearance had been a mystery until then. According to an arrest warrant, she was dumped there by disgraced Doraville police officer Miles Bryant.
Last week, Bryant was arrested and charged with concealing Susana’s death after dumping the child’s body. This week, he was charged with murder.
“It’s unbelievable honestly, there is no words that I can say to explain it,” Susana’s sister, Jasmine Morales said at the time. “It sucks that it took so long but I guess with him being an officer has something to do with that.”
According to the arrest warrant, police say Bryant dumped Susana’s naked body in a patch of woods in Dacula. Medical examiners are still trying to determine the teen’s cause of death. The original warrant stated that police suspected Bryant of rape, murder, and other offenses, and this week he has been charged with those crimes.
According to NBC News, authorities homed in on Bryant after they found “a critical piece of evidence” — a handgun — “in close proximity” to where Susana’s body was found during a grid search of woods near Highway 316 between Drowning Creek and the Barrow County line.
It was determined that Bryant had reported the personal gun missing on the morning of July 27. This “coincidence” made him a person of interest in the case.
According to court records, Bryant lived near Susana. Local news, 11 Alive interviewed neighbors who said Bryant was normal.
One of those neighbors shared cell phone videos, showing what they described as investigators collecting a bed sheet from Bryant’s personal car. In one of the videos, his police car was being towed away.
“It’s hard to put my mind around it right now, that’s this person who lived in this complex did that,” said another resident who asked not to disclose her identity out of fear of retaliation. That neighbor says while she didn’t know Bryant personally he has introduced himself several times as a police officer who also moonlights as security at the complex.
Neighbors said Byrant’s demeanor during the past six months wasn’t alarming.
“He was very normal, just smiling laughing, living his life,” the neighbor said. “Poor baby laid out in a field somewhere. Are you serious, how can you be that cold-hearted? How is somebody that cold-hearted?”
As we pointed out last week, though much of the media has been referring to Bryant as a “former officer,” he was a cop earlier this month. He was only fired after being charged with dumping the naked body of a teenager in the woods.
After announcing the murder charges, Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure provided a timeline of events. On the night she was kidnapped, Susana left her home in Norcross around 6 p.m. and walked to a nearby apartment complex to meet with a friend. Bryant lived in this complex.
Around 10 p.m. Susana left her friend’s house to walk home.
“We know that between 10 and 10:30 p.m. Susana had an interaction with an individual,” who McClure said was Bryant, and “ultimately was not seen or heard from again.”
Though a cause of death has yet to be determined, police suspect Bryant raped her before he killed her and that he may have been stalking her.
“We don’t definitively know” how she died. “We’re still investigating. What we do know is she died at the hands of Miles Bryant,” he said.
McClure said police are “still investigating” a motive.
He said “it’s entirely possible” that Bryant had been watching Susana before her death.
Though his neighbors said he was normal, a year before he became a cop, Bryant was caught sneaking through the window of a nearby house. Police were called but the homeowner eventually decided not to prosecute.
In December, he may have tried to do the same thing. Bryant visited the home of an acquaintance, and “he may have tried to enter” the residence, McClure said. The case is under investigation, and “we do believe that warrants are forthcoming,” he added.
“This type of crime at the hands of a law enforcement officer evokes anger, even within the ranks of this agency,” McClure said. “Police officers should always be pillars of trust.”
Unfortunately for the residents of Norcross, Susana, and her family, Bryant was the exact opposite.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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