After 11 years, ex-boyfriend charged in murder of woman who was identified by breast implant
50-year-old Billy Joe Cook was arrested by the police in connection to the disappearance and murder of Leslie Adams. He is currently being held in jail without bond.
A 13-year-old cold case may finally see some conclusion after detectives zeroed in on the ex-boyfriend of the murder victim as the primary suspect. 50-year-old Billy Joe Cook, of Canton, Georgia, was arrested in connection with the death and disappearance of 40-year-old Leslie Marva Adams, a mother-of-two who worked as a beautician in Lilburn.
According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, police arrested Cook on Interstate 75 with the assistance of Henry County law enforcement and the Georgia State Patrol and have charged the 50-year-old with murder. District Attorney Danny Porter said that law enforcement had never stopped working on the case, with the victim's family finally breathing a sigh of relief.
When Adams went missing in 2005, suspicion had immediately fallen on Cook, especially because of the circumstances under which she had disappeared. The 40-year-old had obtained a temporary protective order (TPO) against Cook just days before she went missing in October 2005 due to ongoing domestic issues and had written in a court document that she was "afraid that if I do not let him in my life, he will become violent and angry."
Investigators found bloodstains and a shell casing inside Adams' apartment after her disappearance, though her body was found two years later when a couple discovered her remains in a swamp in Franklin County. Media reports from the time say pieces of clothing found with the body led investigators to believe the remains belonged to Adams, though it was eventually the serial number on her breast implants that confirmed her identity. The evidence gathered indicated that she had been shot and killed.
Cook was questioned at the time of Adams' disappearance and admitted that he had argued with the 40-year-old. However, he denied choking, stalking, and beating her throughout what was their 18-month relationship, and insisted that the TPO was the result a misunderstanding.
The 50-year-old was never charged, though Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman Wilbert Rundles said that the department's Cold Case Unit "continued to monitor the progress of the investigation." The Gwinnett Daily Post reports that the case was later reopened in 2017, with two detectives — one from Porter's office and one from the Gwinnett Police — taking over from Franklin County authorities and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
"Together with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, more interviews were conducted and evidence was re-examined," Rundles said. "The Cold Case detective was able to establish probable cause for the arrest of Billy Joe Cook." It is unclear what new evidence was discovered that allowed for the authorities to now charge Cook, but according to the New York Post, the 50-year-old was contacted two weeks ago to discuss the case once again.
Rundles said that the case is expected to go before a grand jury soon, with Porter stating that he expected his office to present it "certainly within the next two weeks." The district attorney also said that the paperwork, including the reports, needed to go before the grand jury was completed.
According to jail records, Adams is currently being held at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.