Thursday March 30th, 2023 3:54PM

Former Doraville officer now charged with murder, kidnapping in Susana Morales case

By Caleb Hutchins | Video: Joy Holmes
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A former Doraville police officer is now facing charges of felony murder and kidnapping in connection to the case of a Norcross teenager who was found dead earlier this month.

Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure updated the case in a press conference at the police department's headquarters in Lawrenceville Wednesday morning. He said authorities have found sufficient evidence to file the charges against Miles Bryant, age 22.

Bryant was arrested on Feb. 13 on charges of concealing the death of another and false report of a crime. The arrest came after a passerby found the skeletal remains of Susana Morales,16, on the side of Georgia 316 at Drowning Creek Rd. in Dacula five days earlier.

"The following morning, February 7, we brought out a large contingency of police personnel and conducted a methodical and meticulous search known as a grid search," McClure said. "During that search, we located a firearm that had been reported stolen on July 27. This is the same day that Susana was reported missing. That firearm, we traced back to a 22-year-old former Doraville police officer named Miles Bryant."

McClure said investigators are still working the case and at this time authorities do not know how Morales died, but he did say they do not believe she was killed by gunfire. Bryant's possible motive is also not known.

According to police, Morales left her home on Santa Ana Drive in Norcross to meet with a friend at Sterling Glen apartments on Indian Trail Road. Morales spent roughly four hours at Sterling Glen and then began walking home around 10:00 p.m. when she encountered someone. Morales was not heard from again. McClure said Monday authorities believe the individual Morales encountered was Bryant.

"We know that Susana visited her friend at Sterling Glen apartment complex where Bryant served as the courtesy officer," McClure said. "We have looked at the idea or if there was some type of knowledge or releationship, but so far, we have not made that connection."

McClure said investigators do not believe at this time that anyone else was involved in Morales' disappearance or death.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy. This type of crime at the hands of a law enforcement officer evokes anger even within the ranks of this agency," McClure said.

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