AUGUSTA, Ga. – The remains of a missing Georgia teenager have been discovered in a shallow grave, nearly one year after her mother and stepfather were arrested in connection with her disappearance, authorities said.
Days after the Richmond County Sheriff's Office received a phone call from someone who found bones in the backyard of a vacant Augusta home, dental records sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the remains were those of LaTania Janell Carwell.
The 16-year-old had been missing since April 17. Her stepfather, Leon Tripp, and mother, Tonya Tripp, were arrested in DeKalb County and Atlanta on May 23.
In June, Carwell was thought to be dead based on a statement her stepfather made, Sheriff Richard Roundtree said at a news conference Tuesday. Leon Tripp was the last person seen with Carwell, and his statement prompted authorities to charge him with murder after he was charged in May with kidnapping.
The discovery of her body prompted additional charges on Tuesday. Leon Tripp is now charged with first-degree cruelty to children for causing pain by binding limbs, death by unknown means, and other offenses. The indictment against Tonya Tripp now charges her with second-degree murder and other offenses.
Both are jailed in Richmond County and it is unclear if they have lawyers.