GREENE COUNTY, Ga. — A body has been found in the search for a missing 16-year-old who disappeared earlier this year.
Anthony “AJ” Haszelton Jr., 16, vanished from his Decatur home April 16 and hasn’t been heard from since. DeKalb County police said they initially thought Haszelton was a runaway, but evidence suggested something happened to him.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne learned a body was found in Greene County, Georgia. An autopsy is pending and police have made an arrest in the case.
Charlie Ramos, 19, is charged with malice murder and concealing a death.
Homeowner Bill Sisson stumbled upon the body on his property in Greene County. He hopes the discovery may help provide answers to a family waiting months to get them.
“Kinda hate it for his mom mostly. Whoever it was, I said ‘somebody’s mama’s hunting for him,’” Sisson said.
Sission said as soon as he realized the bones he came across were human, he called Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. Harrison called the GBI and over a two-day period, his investigators and the GBI have been carefully sifting evidence at the remote crime scene.
The remains have been tentatively identified as Haszelton though investigators are awaiting positive ID from an autopsy. Investigators told Winne that they found clothing and shoes that fit the description of what Haszelton was last wearing.
“We hope that this brings some sort of closure to that family once we get more positive information back,” Harrison said.
Investigators are looking at a possible gang connection.
An April Dekalb police incident report indicates someone who may be a friend of Haszelton said, “Anthony had gone to Greene County with an older male gang member by the name of Charlie Ramos and that Anthony had told this person that if he didn’t return by 3 p.m. that evening something bad had happened to him.”
Ray Ham is Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice gang unit leader and an officer with the Georgia Gang Investigators Association. He says Georgia is in a gang crisis.
“In the last 10 years mark, we have seen an astounding increase in teenage involvement in criminal street gangs,” he told Winne. “Social media platforms are allowing these groups to organize, share their common thoughts.”
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