DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The man charged in connection with the death of an Iraq war veteran is now in jail.
Brad Clement had been on the run for six days after he was supposed to turn himself in. Authorities finally tracked him down late Thursday afternoon in DeKalb County.
The arrest was caught in a dramatic moment taken by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, showing Clement laying on the ground in the pouring rain with his hands handcuffed behind his back.
Clement appeared in court for the first time Friday. He appeared to have a hard time focusing and had little to say to the judge.
Clement did not have a bond set. He will go before a superior judge later this month.
Police had been searching for Clement ever since human remains were found in the backyard of the home he once lived at in Cobb County. It was also the same home that Iraq war veteran Chase Massner was last seen leaving from three years ago.
“It’s very surprising in this area,” Massner’s friend Brian Hopkins told Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon Thursday evening by phone.
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Acting on a tip late Thursday afternoon, authorities said they spotted the van they believed Clement was driving in the parking lot of the Toco Hills shopping center in DeKalb County. Moments later they put him in cuffs.
Authorities told Wilfon they believe Clement had been living in the van for several days. Wilfon watched as investigators towed the van away.
“It’s a very calm area usually,” Hopkins told Wilfon.
Authorities began searching for Clement last Friday after he failed to turn himself in.
Hopkins said he was a good friend of Massner’s since serving with him in Iraq. He said the long search for Massner was tough.
“Terrible. It’s been hell. We wanted him captured,” Hopkins said.
Wilfon obtained Clement’s mug shot Thursday night, shortly after he was booked into the Cobb County Jail.
It’s exactly where Massner’s family and friends believe he belongs.
“I think for closure, it’s a good thing he got caught. We want the truth,” Hopkins told Wilfon.
But the truth could still be a ways off.
We're still waiting for the medical examiner's report, which could reveal Massner's cause of death.
Massner's family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses if you would like to donate.
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