Updated:DAWSON COUNTY, Ga.,None —
A family member is coming to the defense of a 20-year-old accused of killing a Canton girl who disappeared from the playground of her apartment complex.
“This whole thing just don’t seem possible,” the suspect’s brother, Steven Brunn, said.
Channel 2 Action News was at the River Ridge apartments Wednesday as officers escorted Ryan Brunn from the premises in handcuffs. Brunn, a maintenance worker at the complex, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera.
Jorelys disappeared Friday afternoon and turned up dead in the complex Dumpster three days later. Investigators said she was beaten, sexually assaulted and stabbed in a vacant unit near her building.
“We believe that this horrendous crime was planned and calculated and we recovered a lot of evidence that's going to require processing," Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said.
Brunn had recently moved to Canton from a home in rural Dahlonega, where he once lived with his foster mother and four other foster children, including his older brother. Neighbors in Dahlonega said the details of the arrest were difficult to take in.
“It's hard to believe someone so close actually did something like this,” Charles Hansard told Channel 2’s Michael Buczyner.
Another resident said he’s called the police on Ryan over several issues.
"Caught him in the bushes right beside the house smoking dope at night," Josh Ellington said.
According to the GBI, Brunn has no known criminal record. His brother said his arrest is unbelievable and has taken a big toll on the whole family.
“They're making my brother seem like he's a monster. My brother, he's kind-hearted. He'll give to you if he's got it,” Steven Brunn said. “He's great with kids and there were never any signs of violence.”
The elder Brunn said he hasn’t seen his brother in weeks but can’t believe the crime he’s accused of.
“He's not a violent person. I don't understand how this happened," Steven Brunn said.