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Former police officer denied bond in case of murdered Gwinnett County teen

By Rebekka Schramm

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    LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia (WANF) — An ex-Doraville police officer accused of killing a Gwinnett County teenager and dumping her naked body in some woods will remain in jail while he awaits trial.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Tamela L. Adkins denied bond Monday morning for Miles Bryant saying she believes he is a danger to the community.

In July 2022, Susana Morales’s family reported her missing. She was last seen walking home from a friend’s house.

Seven months later, a passerby found her body in some woods 20 miles away. A weapon was found near her body, which Gwinnett County investigators said belonged to then-Doraville Police Officer Miles Bryant.

Investigators discovered that hours after the girl disappeared, Bryant reported that his weapon had been stolen. Bryant was arrested and now faces charges that include murder, kidnapping, and false report of a crime.

Bryant also faces a separate burglary charge stemming from a 2019 case in which a former friend of his accused him of stalking her.

At Monday’s bond hearing, Gwinnett County Deputy Chief District Attorney Brandon Delfunt outlined some of the evidence that he said ties Bryant to the murder, including cell phone records and data stored on his personal and work-issued phones.

“Inside of his phone, the defendant searched for, ‘How long does it take a body to decompose?’” said Delfunt.

Delfunt also outlined what he called a pattern of sexually deviant behavior, including a stash of women’s underwear that Bryant’s live-in girlfriend discovered in his home.

“She confronted him about it,” Delfunt said, “and whenever he responded via text, he said that they were actually evidence in a case for the police department and that he had lost them and misplaced them and thanked her for in fact finding them.”

Bryant’s attorney Tracy Drake tried to get the judge to grant Bryant bond with serious restrictions.

“My client has significant ties to the community,” Drake told the judge. “He does not have a criminal history. He was employed. He’s been a lifetime citizen here.”

Drake said she hadn’t seen any of the evidence the prosecution mentioned, but called the presentation “theories, not facts.”

Adkins denied bond.

“I find that you are a risk to the community and a risk to commit additional felonies,” the judge said.

Bryant has entered a not guilty plea.

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