Gwinnett County

Officer fights tears on the stand during trial for man accused of killing 16-year-old Gwinnett girl

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County police officer got emotional on the witness stand today as he testified about the tragic murder of a 16-year-old girl.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Prosecutors say former Doraville police officer Miles Bryant kidnapped and murdered Susana Morales in July 2022. According to Lt. Xavier Biggers of the Gwinnett County Police Department, who testified in court, he made it his mission to find the missing teenager.

“My wife is Hispanic, and it really touched me. I felt like it was my duty to find her,” Biggers said.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan was in the courtroom Thursday, where Biggers said that he was one of the first officers to speak with Morales’ family.

“They were very adamant that their sister had been taken against her will because she would not just run away,” he said.


The prosecution alleges Bryant abducted Morales as she was leaving a friend’s home in Norcross. Bryant, who lived and worked as a security officer at the same apartment complex, reportedly offered Morales and her friend, Rose Castillo, a ride to a nearby gas station. The teenagers declined the offer.

“It wasn’t odd for us to get an offer for a ride; we were young girls in the neighborhood. It wasn’t unusual, so we just sort of laughed it off,” Castillo said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Police body cam footage showed the wooded area off Highway 316 where a man pulled over on the side of the road discovered bones scattered among the leaves seven months after Morales disappeared.

“Specifically, I found a human skull,” Matthew Gilbert said. Gilbert said he immediately recognized that the skull was human.

A forensic examiner confirmed the remains belonged to Morales. Police also found Bryant’s service weapon in the area. Bryant claimed someone had stolen the gun from his car, but prosecutors argue he accidentally dropped it while disposing of Morales’ naked body.

Bryant is expected to testify in his own defense.


Comments on this article