Authorities have made an arrest in the cold case murder of a 6-year-old child who was found murdered in Georgia over 23 years ago.
Earlier this year, detectives took forensic samples from Teresa Black, 45, and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office has now charged her with felony murder after DNA allegedly linked her to the victim, who was identified as William DaShawn Hamilton, WSB reported.
In February 1999, Hamilton was found dead in a wooded area in Decatur, but the case went cold after detectives were unable to match him with any missing children at the time.
The D.A.’s office said the child’s “body was significantly decomposed ... and [he] was estimated to have been deceased for three to six months prior to his discovery.”
“The victim was wearing a blue and white plaid shirt, red denim jeans, and brown Timberland boots,” prosecutors noted.
Police got a break in the cold case when the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children received a tip from a woman who said she took care of the victim when he was living in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1998.
Black, who went by the last name Bailey, resided in the city with her son and a family member “when she abruptly withdrew William from school in December 1998 and moved with him to Atlanta,” the DA’s office said. “She returned to Charlotte in late 1999 without William and told differing stories about his whereabouts at the time.”
According to Angeline Hartmann, Director of Communications at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the tipster “followed her gut that something wasn’t right” and for decades she “made phone calls, scoured the internet and talked to anybody who would listen.”
“We’re grateful she never stopped until she found that rendering of William online and gave investigators the missing piece to help solve this 23-year-old mystery,” Hartmann added.
Black was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, and she is expected to be extradited to Georgia, prosecutors said.