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Fired Georgia cop accused of hiding death of 16-year-old girl found in woods months after she texted mom and never made it home

Susana Morales, Miles Bryant

Susana Morales (Gwinnett Police Department), Miles Bryant (Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office)

A 22-year-old since-fired police officer in Georgia faces charges of concealing the death of Susana Morales, a 16-year-old girl from Norcross reported missing by her family last July.

Authorities with the Gwinnett Police Department announced the arrest of Miles Bryant, also of Norcross, on Monday, also noting that the defendant is charged with false report of a crime. The charges against Bryant come less than one week after investigators confirmed they found Morales’ remains in a wooded area along Highway 316.

“On Monday, Feb 06, 2023, shortly after 6:30 p.m., Gwinnett Police responded to Hwy 316 between Drowning Creek and the Barrow County Line after receiving a call from a passerby stating they saw what they believed to be human remains in the woods,” police said in an update on the investigation. “Detectives and CSI responded to the scene, and the Gwinnett Medical Examiners’ office took possession of the remains. Detectives are investigating the manner and cause of death of Morales.”

On the night Morales was last seen alive, she texted her mom she was on her way home. She never made it.

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“On Tuesday, Jul 26, 2022, Morales texted her mom at 9:40 p.m., saying she was on her way home. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Morales had not returned home. A location application showed Morales walking on Singleton Road to her home from Windscape Village Lane between 10:07 p.m. and 10:21 p.m. Morales was last seen wearing light blue jeans, a yellow spaghetti-strapped shirt, and white crocs,” cops said. “Between 10:21 p.m. and 10:26 p.m., Morales’s cell phone indicates that her last known location was at Oak Loch Trace near Steve Reynolds. Morales’s cell phone continued to show being in the area of Oak Loch Trace until the cell phone died or was turned off.”

On Feb. 8, Gwinnett police confirmed the family’s worst fears: Human remains found two days earlier between Drowning Creek and the Barrow County Line belonged to Morales.

As recently as January, police in Gwinnett said that video evidence from Morales’ cellphone indicated she “may have gotten into a vehicle” when walking in the direction of her home.

Authorities said the manner and cause of Morales’ death remain under investigation.

Concealing the death of another in the state of Georgia is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison upon conviction; a false report of a crime is a misdemeanor offense.

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Bryant was booked just before 5 p.m. on Monday. The defendant, reportedly expected to appear in court, was listed as in jail on Tuesday morning.

Bryant is now a former officer with the Doraville Police Department, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.