by: Tom Regan Updated:CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. —
A Carroll County grand jury has indicted a man in the kidnapping and murder of a University of West College student.
Toyal Jackson, 22, was kidnapped outside a Walmart in October 2000. A month later, investigators discovered her body at a city wastewater treatment plant.
On Thursday, 35-year-old Samuel Edwards was charged with killing the student. Edwards was already in jail in Heard County on an unrelated charge.
"We are relieved and we are happy and we are thankful to the good Lord above and for everybody who has been praying for us during this time," said Emma Jackson.
Emma and Gene Jackson, the victim's parents, spoke with Channel 2's Tom Regan after watching the defendant's first appearance before a magistrate judge at the Carroll County Jail Thursday.
"When I saw him I said to myself, ‘He does look like the sketch that was put out.’ It's like being relieved of a heavy load,” Emma Jackson said.
The couple described how police were led to the suspect.
"They told us he had talked about it with several people, at least four different people who are credible people," Emma Jackson said.
Toyal Jackson was a senior, seeking a degree in early childhood education. Her father said she was a role model to others.
"She was just a leader. She would take the lead on almost anything she was involved with. She was a loving and outgoing person," said Gene Jackson.
The victim's parents expressed their appreciation for the hard work by the Carrollton Police Department.
"We just hoped and prayed. And we never gave up hope. It's like being relieved of a heavy load," said Emma Jackson.