Gwinnett County

Officer arrested in 16-year-old girl’s death had been disciplined for mishandling missing child case

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The fired Doraville police officer arrested and charged in the death of a 16-year-old girl in Gwinnett County had been disciplined before, according to documents.

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Miles Bryant, 22, was discipled a few times during the course of his short career, one time in the case of another missing child.

Bryant is accused of concealing the death of Susana Morales, whose remains were found last week 20 miles from where she was last seen near her home in Gwinnett County. Morales was walking home when she vanished in July of 2022. Her skeletal remains were found near a creek on the Gwinnett/Barrow County line.

Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson obtained Bryant’s personnel file, which sheds light on why he was fired despite the fact that he is not yet facing murder charges.

Doraville Police Chief C.D. Atkinson explained to the city manager that Bryant’s arrest puts the department “under too much of a cloud to justify keeping him on leave while all this runs its course.”

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“If the arrest was for a simple DUI or a less-than-clear-cut domestic violence-related incident, my inclination would be to place the officer on administrative leave and await completion of the criminal investigation,” Atkinson wrote.

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The 214-page report shows that Bryant passed an extensive background check before he was hired in May 2021.

In Nov. 2021, another officer reported that while he was on duty and Bryant was off-duty and in street clothes, Bryant “pressed out his hands as if he was holding a handgun pointing it at me.”

The officer wrote, “I began to reach for my pistol with my right hand” before he recognized it was Bryant. He said Bryant told him to “keep your head on a swivel,” which landed him a two-day suspension.

On July 26, 2022, Morales family reported her missing. Records show that months after Morales disappeared, Bryant responded to a runaway call of another child on Oct. 2, but waited three days to finish the report, while federal law requires it to be done within two hours.

For those three days, there was no record of that child being reported missing.

Bryant was written up.

Johnson has reached out to the city for more information about whether that child ever returned home.