A SMILING suspect has been arrested for the alleged shooting murder of a teen girl whose slain body was found in a Georgia cemetery.
Hunter’s body was found in a cemetery across the road from Unionville Church in Barnesville, about 50 miles south of Atlanta – and 40 miles from her home in Ellenwood – on Sunday afternoon, according to Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.
The victim sustained “at least one gunshot wound,” the sheriff’s office said.
“A tip received that afternoon led detectives to Albany, where a search was conducted at Ray’s mother’s apartment,” Lamar County Sheriff Brad White said.
“They uncovered enough evidence at the apartment to secure murder warrants for Mr. Ray.”
Deputies were called to the scene about 2.30pm on Sunday after a body – identified as Hunter’s the following day – was spotted in the cemetery by a family who was visiting their mother’s grave, Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Wednesday.
“They looked at the back of the cemetery, about 100 yards away, and thought somebody had dumped trash or something,” White continued. “So they went back there and saw that it was a young lady on the ground. They immediately left and called 911.”
The gruesome discovery came about 24 hours after Hunter was last seen alive, according to the outlet.
“This is crushing us,” Hunter’s aunt, Jazmine Johnson, told WSB-TV on Tuesday.
“They stole from us,”she added.
“This is wrong. This is way more than wrong.”
White told the news station that investigators found tire tracks where Hunter’s body was located. They believe the person who killed her drove her to the cemetery, AJC reports.
It’s not clear if Hunter was shot and killed in the cemetery or transported there following her death.
The cause of death also hasn’t been confirmed.
The investigation is ongoing.
According to AJC, there were at least 155 homicides in Atlanta over the course of 2020.
That marked the city’s highest murder count since 1998, when 154 homicides took place. Just 99 were investigated in 2019.
“I am deeply concerned about the spike that we are seeing in our homicides,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said.