Newton County

Man pleads guilty to murder of Morgan Bauer, teen who vanished from Newton County in 2016

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — Years after 19-year-old Morgan Bauer disappeared in Newton County in 2016, one of two people charged in connection to her death has pleaded guilty.

Bauer vanished two weeks after she moved to Atlanta from South Dakota in February 2016. She was last seen near a park in Porterdale before she vanished two weeks later.

On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the evidence found during their search in Porterdale were her remains.

“Morgan Bauer’s bones were found last year on a Porterdale, Ga. property after FBI Atlanta and law enforcement partners searched the property,” the FBI said in a statement.

According to the Newton County District Attorney’s Office, Jonathan Alexander Warren entered a guilty plea to malice murder, tampering with evidence, concealing the death of another and necrophilia.

In July 2023, new developments in the case were discovered and law enforcement agents from Porterdale, where Bauer disappeared, and even federal agents, were back in town to look for clues and new evidence.

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Warren, and fellow suspect Katelyn Goble, were both arrested in August 2023 in connection to the Bauer case.

“Morgan Bauer went missing in 2016 when she was only 19 years old. Investigations into her disappearance continued for years. Based on more recent investigation led by the Porterdale Police Department with assistance from numerous other agencies, Warren and Katelyn Goble were arrested in 2023,” Newton DA Randy McGinley said in a statement.

As previously reported by Channel 2 Action News, Warren was arrested in Los Angeles and Goble was arrested in Peoria, Ill. jail, accused of helping him cover it up.


After the arrests, friends and family of Bauer reacted to the news, telling Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco that they were surprised.

“It’s a big shock,” Paxton Gilbert, a friend of Bauer, said. “They were the last two people to be seen with Morgan. I just want to know what happened; you know? They told investigators, they even told her mom, they dropped her off at a gas station, and that’s the last they saw of her.”

Gilbert told Channel 2 Action News at the time that she was afraid the years-long missing persons case would become a homicide investigation.

In November, a Newton County Grand Jury indicted both of them for Bauer’s murder and related charges, according to the DA’s office.

Warren entered a non-negotiated plea, asking the Court to be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, while prosecutors argued for life without parole instead.

In terms of sentencing, the prosecution won out, with a Newton County judge sentencing Warren to life in prison without parole.

The indictment against Goble is still pending, according to the DA’s office.

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