Human remains found in a wooded area behind an Augusta home have been identified as belonging to the missing and presumed dead 16-year-old, LaTania Janell Carwell.
Bones found in a shallow grave in the backyard of a vacant residence were identified through dental records, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office was contacted by telephone on Thursday, March 8, and deputies were notified of the discovery of what appeared to be human remains.
The grisly find was made at Golden Camp Road, Sheriff Richard Roundtree said at a news conference on Tuesday, March 13, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The girl’s stepfather, Leon Tripp, and her mother, Tanya Tripp, were both arrested on May 23 in connection with her disappearance.
Roundtree told reporters that new information discovered during a forensic search confirmed that Carwell’s mother and stepfather are the primary suspects in her death.
“We did find information (during the process) that supports the fact that the subjects we have in custody are responsible,” Roundtree said.
In June, Roundtree said the missing teen was thought to be dead based on a statement made by the stepfather.
“We now know have confirmed via statement, and this is from Mr. Tripp, that Janell is not alive,” Augusta-Richmond County District Attorney Natalie Paine said at the time, 11Alive reported.
Leon Tripp was charged with kidnapping and murder, while Tanya Tripp was charged with concealing her daughter’s death.
Both remain in Richmond County Jail.
Sheriff Roundtree said that investigators are now working to ascertain the girl’s cause of death, with indictments of the suspects likely to follow.
Leon Tripp was in Johnson State Prison from June 2009 until April 2015 for aggravated assault, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, citing the Chronicle, Tanya Tripp married Leon Tripp while he was incarcerated.