Who killed Nicole Hall? Missing Georgia girl, 8, found dead in woods near home

Hall's mother, Brittany Hall, 27, and her domestic partner were arrested after the 8-year-old was found dead near her home


                            Who killed Nicole Hall? Missing Georgia girl, 8, found dead in woods near home
Missing Amari Nicole Hall, 8, her mother Brittany Hall and partner Celeste Owens who were arrested (Gwinnett County Police)

GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA: The body of 8-year-old Nicole "Amari" Hall was found in a wooded area on November 23, Tuesday, two days after she disappeared, Gwinnett County Police Chief JD McClure confirmed at a press conference. Hall's mother Brittany Hall has been put behind bars in connection with her murder. On Sunday, November 21, Hall's mother, 27, reported her daughter missing.

Brittany told police that she woke up and found that her daughter was gone from the Hometown Studios and Suites, where they were living. "I woke up yesterday morning and my daughter wasn't here. The door was cracked," Hall said in an interview with WAGA Monday, November 22. "I went outside the whole place. I did not see her. I called 911." Brittany was living at the Hometown Studios at 7049 Jimmy Carter Boulevard with her three children and partner, Celeste Owens, according to police. Around 9:15 am Sunday, Hall called authorities to report Amari missing. In another recent incident of horrific child cruelty, Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32, from Shirley, have been accused of murdering Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who reportedly suffered an "unsurvivable brain injury". Arthur was subjected to a "campaign of cruelty" before he died, that matched the “medical definition of child torture”.



 

 

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Brittany had claimed that responding officers searched her room and property to look for clues in the child's disappearance. "They were out here for about five hours looking around. They say they went in a three-mile radius. That's not nothing," Brittany had said. "This is not a good area. There is a lot of trafficking going on." Amari had been last seen wearing a blue Tweety Bird jacket, with a blue and white pajama set. Brittany said she was particularly worried because Amari had autism and was new to the area. Amari’s body was later found in a wooded area of a DeKalb County neighborhood about 15 miles from the place where the family was living.

At a press conference on Tuesday, November 23, McClure said that Brittany's partner, 29-year-old Owens, has been charged with felony murder in the death of Halls. "We will charge Celeste Owens with felony murder in connection with the death of Amari Hall," McClure said. "Additionally, Brittany Hall will be charged with concealing a death of another. We will also continue to investigate her role in this murder." Two other children living in the home, a six-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy were taken into custody by DFCS.

McClure claimed that the woman's statements did not match the evidence gathered by police, which is when investigators began to suspect foul play. "At that point our investigation transitioned from a missing person case to indeed a homicide case," he said. How Amari died still remains unclear as the autopsy results are still pending. "My heart goes out to the extended family of Amari Hall," McClure said. "We worked diligently on this case."

Gwinnett County Jail records show that Owens was arrested and charged with six counts of first-degree cruelty to children and making false statements. Her charges were upgraded on Nov 23 to include murder, concealing a death and a seventh count of child cruelty. On Nov 22, Brittany was arrested and charged with making false statements, false report of a crime and five counts of first-degree cruelty to children she is also expected to be charged with concealing a death, McClure said. As of Wednesday, November 24, the duo did not have attorneys to comment on their behalf. The two are reportedly also yet to enter pleas to the charges.

If anyone has any information to share in this case, please contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300.  To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com.