Gwinnett County

Det. says man accused of killing 16-year-old searched how long it would take body to decompose

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A former police officer charged with kidnapping and murdering a teenage girl has chosen not to testify in his own defense, contradicting earlier statements from his lawyer.

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Miles Bryant, who was an officer with the Doraville Police Department, was charged with kidnapping, attempted rape, and murder in the death of 16-year-old Susanna Morales in July 2022. The teenager’s skeletal remains were discovered seven months later in a wooded area off Highway 316.

Bryant’s gun was found near her remains.


Bryant’s lawyer initially said that he would testify to challenge the charges. However, after hearing the prosecution’s evidence, Bryant’s defense team may have decided that testifying posed more risks than benefits.

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Channel 2′s Tom Regan was in court Tuesday, when Gwinnett Police Detective Angela Carter revealed that cell phone data placed Bryant at the location where Morales’ body was found.

“Is he on his mobile data terminal looking at Google maps of the area where Susanna’s body was recovered? Yes,” Carter said.

Carter also said that Bryant had conducted extensive online research on Morales’ disappearance and related news stories. Bryant also searched a website tracking license plate recognition cameras that is often used by police to find suspicious vehicles.

And then there was a Google search:

Carter said Bryant searched: “How long does it take a body to decompose?”

“Obviously, in your investigation, why was that particularly relevant?” prosecutors asked Carter.

“Because Suzanna was in the woods decomposing,” Carter said.

Carter also showed video of Bryant warning a teenage runaway that she could be kidnapped, murdered, and dumped in the woods. This video was made just two months before Morales went missing.

Closing arguments begin on Wednesday.

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