Gwinnett County

‘I just want to apologize:’ Former officer gets life in prison for murder of 16-year-old girl

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — On Wednesday, a jury gave a guilty verdict to former Doraville police officer Miles Bryant, who is accused of kidnapping and killing 16-year-old Susana Morales.

The judge later sentenced Bryant to life without the possibility of parole.

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The sentencing came on Wednesday night after Morales’ family members gave emotional statements before the judge in court.

Bryant spoke before learning his sentence, but showed little outward emotion.

“I just want to apologize to everyone and to the victim’s family,” he said.

Channel 2 Action News has been following this case since Morales vanished in July 2022.

Prosecutor Brandon Delfunt told the jury that Bryant, who was a police officer at the time, betrayed his badge and oath on July 26, 2022.

Delfunt said that Bryant kidnapped Morales, attempted to rape her, and later dumped her lifeless, naked body in the woods off Highway 316.

She was found in February 2023.

Channel 2 Action News put together a timeline of events from the time of Morales’ death to the arrest of Bryant.

JULY 26, 2022:

6 p.m.: Susana Morales leaves her home on Santa Anna Drive in Norcross, walking to a friend’s house nearby.

9:40 p.m.: Morales texts her mother to let her know that she’s walking home from Windscape Village.

It’s the same apartment complex in Norcross where Bryant lives. His unit overlooks the Morales’ family’s home. Police have said they do not believe Morales and Bryant had a prior relationship.

10 p.m.: Morales has still not returned home.

10:07 p.m. - 10:21 p.m.: A location app shows she is walking on Singleton Road.

10:21 p.m. - 10:26 p.m.: Morales’ phone indicates that her last known location was Oak Loch Trace near Steve Reynolds Boulevard.

10 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.: Detectives believe Morales encountered Bryant and possibly got into his vehicle.

10 p.m. July 26 - 2 a.m. July 27: Detectives believe Morales was killed.

JULY 27, 2022

9 a.m.: Morales’ parents report her missing to police.

11 a.m.: Bryant reports his gun being stolen.

OCT. 2, 2022: Bryant responds to a report of a missing child but waits three days to finish the report, according to personnel records. Bryant is written up.

DEC. 11, 2022: A former friend of Bryant’s files a police report claiming that he has been showing up uninvited at her apartment repeatedly for nearly a year. The case is never assigned.

FEB 6. 2023: Morales’ remains are found in a wooded area off of Highway 316 on the Gwinnett/Barrow county line.

Police find a gun near the remains. They determine that it is registered to Bryant.

FEB. 13, 2023: Gwinnett County arrest Bryant for concealing a death and false report of a crime.

FEB. 22, 2023: Bryant is charged with felony murder and kidnapping.

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In court on Wednesday, the prosecution labeled Bryant as a “monster” and “sexual deviant,” claiming he repeatedly lied to investigators about Morales’ disappearance and murder.

The judge sentenced Bryant to life without parole, plus 12 months.

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