AUGUSTA, Ga. – The remains of a missing Georgia teenager have been discovered in a shallow grave nearly one year after her mother and stepfather were arrested in connection with her disappearance, authorities said.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call Thursday from someone who found bones in the backyard of a vacant Augusta home, Sheriff Richard Roundtree said at a news conference Tuesday. Authorities learned Monday that dental records sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the remains were those of LaTania Janell Carwell, news outlets reported.
The 16-year-old had been missing since April 17, Roundtree said. Her stepfather, Leon Tripp, was arrested in DeKalb County on May 23 and her mother, Tonya Tripp, was arrested in Atlanta the same day.
In June, Carwell was thought to be dead based on a statement her stepfather made, Roundtree said. Leon Tripp was the last person seen with Carwell, and his statement prompted authorities to charge him with murder after he was charged in May with kidnapping.
Additional charges were filed Tuesday in indictments.
One against Leon Tripp said he is charged with first-degree 7/87/8cruelty to children for causing pain by binding limbs and Carwell’s death by unknown means, and other offenses. The indictment against Tonya Tripp charges her with second-degree murder and other offenses.
Both are jailed in Richmond County and it is unclear if they have lawyers.