ROSWELL, Ga. — The medical examiner confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that a body found near a swimming pool at an apartment complex Wednesday in Roswell is that of a missing teenage girl.
Mercedes Chico-Sims, 17, was found dead by a maintenance worker.
The Centennial High School student's Johns Creek neighborhood is a half-mile from the complex where the body was found, and just a one-minute drive from the location.
Roswell police confirmed 18-year-old Elijah Foster was arrested and charged with concealing the death of another in connection with the case. Foster was an acquaintance of Chico-Sims who lived at the apartment complex where she was found. A judge denied him bond Friday afternoon.
Chico-Sims family told police that the teen sneaked out to go meet friends but never made it. Police are now trying to figure out how she died and if Foster was involved.
“We're still investigating witnesses and others who may have knowledge of the incident. So there's always the potential for additional charges down the road,” said Lt. Noah Caplan.
This isn’t Foster’s first arrest. Records show he’s been arrested two other times since January on charges including burglary and theft. He just got out of jail last weekend.
Channel 2's Mike Petchenik talked to a friend of Chico-Sims on the phone. Savannah Howard said she was a close friend of the teen and that everyone is distraught about her death.
"It was so unexpected. I was shocked. I felt sick to my stomach," Howard said. "She had the biggest heart ever. She always had a smile on her face, even when she was going through rough times."
She described Chico-Sims as a “warm and loving person” and said she was even more upset when she found out about Foster’s arrest.
“If that’s true, it angers me. How could you do that to her of all people?” she said. “She didn’t deserve it.”
Chico-Sims’ family also released a statement, saying, in part, "Our family is just beginning our grieving process and we appreciate your respect for our privacy. Please remember Mercedes as you keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. We miss you Mercedes."
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