Georgia girl, 5, murdered by caretaker out on parole suffered a 'horrible death' and was covered in bruises

Georgia girl, 5, murdered by caretaker out on parole suffered a 'horrible death' and was covered in bruises
Savannah Adams, Ethan Gathright (GoFundMe, Atlanta Police Department)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: A man who was entrusted to care for a five-year-old girl in Georgia is now behind bars after she was found dead by a relative.

Savannah Adams' lifeless body was found in a bed in her southwest Atlanta home on March 29, according to the Atlanta Journal Consitution, and WSB-TV

While the cause of death is yet to be established, Capt. D’Andrea Price of the Atlanta police noted how the young girl had “substantial bruising" when they found her.

“It was a horrible death. I actually didn’t sleep that well that night from seeing her,” Price, who responded to the 911 call, said. “You could basically see the visible bruising to her body and her face.”

Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for 22-year-old Ethan Gathright, a convicted felon who was living at the home with Adams, on March 31. According to WSB-TV, a family member had left the girl in Gathright's care when she left for work and discovered her body when she returned home.

Gathright was initially booked into Fulton County Jail on March 30 on charges of violating his probation and possession of a weapon by a felon. The murder charge in connection to Savannah's death was added on March 31.

According to WSB-TV, investigators were questioning Gathright about Adams' death when they found a firearm in his vehicle and arrested him on the initial charges.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by staff members at the Head Start program, which Adams attended, so the family can cover burial and related expenses. Donors have contributed nearly $4,000 towards a $10,000 goal as of April 5 morning.

“Gentle. Loving. Kind. Caring. Friendly. Brave. Big-hearted … are a few words that are used to describe Savannah. This little light brought joy when she entered her classroom, laughter to her parents, family and friends and protected her siblings like a big sister should,” the GoFundMe organizer wrote. “To know her is to love her and Savannah was definitely loved.”

According to WSB-TV, Gathright spent time behind bars for a series of robberies in 2014 which saw him target women in DeKalb and Fulton counties. State prison officials told the outlet how he was paroled in 2018 and began probation in August last year.

“I’m so sad for this mother and this child but at the same time, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the spotlight is going to be shown on how broken the system is,” said Laura King, one of Gathright’s victims.

Speaking to WSB-TV's Michael Seiden, King recalled her first encounter with Savannah's alleged killer back in July 2014. “He and one other person beat me in a parking lot in Target in the middle of the day and tried to run me over with my car and kill me,” she said.

There was another vicious assault and carjacking the following month outside the Tavern at Phipps Plaza. 

According to authorities, Gathright was part of a crew that stole a woman's car after punching her several times in the face. He is currently remanded in custody without bond.

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