Authorities in Georgia have arrested and charged the mother of an 8-year-old girl whose body was found two days after she was reported missing. According to PEOPLE, Brittany Hall’s arrest came after she went on TV to plead for answers following little Nicole “Amari” Hall’s disappearance.
Authorities found the minor’s body in a wooded location on Tuesday after Hall called authorities to report her missing from their home on Sunday, Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure said during a press conference.
Hall, 27, had told police she couldn’t find Amari in their home after she woke up that morning. “I woke up yesterday morning and my daughter wasn’t here. The door was cracked,” Hall told WAGA in an interview on Monday. “I went outside the whole place. I did not see her. I called 911.”
Hall’s partner, Celeste Owens, was also named as a suspect in Amari’s death during Tuesday’s press conference. McClure said the 29-year-old faces a felony murder charge in connection with the minor’s death.
“We will charge Celeste Owens with felony murder in connection with the death of Amari Hall,” said McClure. “Additionally, Brittany Hall will be charged with concealing a death of another. We will also continue to investigate her role in this murder.”
McClure said the statements the women gave did not corroborate with the evidence police had collected. And this led investigators to suspect foul play, PEOPLE reported. “At that point our investigation transitioned from a missing person case to indeed a homicide case,” the police chief said.
Authorities are yet to determine the circumstances surrounding Amari’s death. “I can’t speculate on why they reported her as missing,” McClure said, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But our investigation revealed Amari was not, in fact, missing. Very early in the investigation, we began to suspect foul play.”
Records from the Gwinnett County Jail also reportedly show both Owens and Hall have additionally been charged with first-degree cruelty to a child. “My heart goes out to the extended family of Amari Hall,” McClure added. “We worked diligently on this case.”