GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Family members have released new information about the murder of a 16-year-old Gwinnett County girl and launched a petition for a full investigation into her death.
Susana Morales vanished in July. Her skeletal remains were found more than six months later in a wooded area of Gwinnett County near the Barrow County line.
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A former Doraville police officer, Miles Bryant, was arrested in Morales’ death after his gun was found near the body.
Family members have now launched a petition at Justice4Susana.com calling for a more thorough investigation into the case.
In the petition, Morales’ sister, Jasmine Morales’, released more details about the night of her sister’s disappearance and what followed. Morales said her sister was with her family all day, but later that night decided to walk to a friend’s home at a nearby apartment complex.
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“Her friend lived in the neighborhood, a 9-minute walk from our house, and she spent the evening there until around 9:40 PM when she texted our mom letting us know she was on the way home,” Jasmine Morales said.
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Jasmine Morales said that by 10 p.m., her family knew something had gone wrong. Morales said they asked Gwinnett Police to look for her, but they were told they had to wait 48 hours to report her missing. Morales said that from the beginning, police treated her sister like a runaway.
“How could she run away when she was on her way home?” Morales asked. “We just knew she didn’t run away in the beginning.”
On their own, the family found a neighbor with a doorbell camera that caught her walking just a few doors down from her house at 9:40 p.m.
Morales said that on Feb. 8, a driver pulled over on Highway 316 to make a phone call. The driver ended up walking into the woods and found Susana Morales’ remains.
Jasmine Morales said that when Bryant was arrested in Morales’ death, they were able to connect that he acted as security at the same apartment complex that Susana Morales’ friend lived at, the same one she left on the night of July 26.
Morales said police collected Bryant’s police car and a bed sheet.
After Bryant was taken into custody, at least three women came forward to say that he had stalked and harassed them.
“Miles Bryant has a history of stalking, harassing, and being wildly inappropriate to women and girls. We are still seeking justice,” Jasmine Morales wrote. We want the Doraville County Police Department to be held accountable for knowingly hiring a man with a history of violence, and for not taking accountability for the harm their officer has committed against any sister, my family, and the other women he has victimized.”
The petition lists four demands, including a fair and transparent investigation by Doraville police, that Bryant be indicted by a grand jury, that he be convicted and tried under the full extent of the law and that the process of reporting missing minors be reevaluated.
“No justice will bring her back to us, but what we can do is try to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else again,” Morales’ sister said.
Bryant remains in jail with no bond. Morales’ mother told Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson that he hopes it stays that way.
“I do not want this person to come out,” she said.
Morales is one of five Hispanic Gwinnett County teenagers who have been killed or found dead in the last month.
Jose Martinez and Jaeden Travis were shot to death. Rodrigo Floriano and Julia Zirangua both died of drug overdoses. It’s unclear how Morales died.
The Hispanic community is gathering Thursday night at Universal Church to bring their concerns about the dangers teens face to police. The Morales family said they plan to attend.
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