Charges upgraded to murder for mother who reported 8-year-old missing

Brittany Hall (left) and Celeste Owens were both arrested this week in connection with the disappearance of 8-year-old Amari Hall. The child's body was found Tuesday morning.
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Brittany Hall (left) and Celeste Owens were both arrested this week in connection with the disappearance of 8-year-old Amari Hall. The child's body was found Tuesday morning.

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Charges have been upgraded to malice murder and felony murder for the mother who reported her 8-year-old missing two days before the little girl was found dead, according to police.

Kimberly Hall called Gwinnett County police Sunday to report that her daughter, Amari, was missing. Officers questioned both Hall and her partner, Celeste Owens, while searching for the girl. But police Chief J.D. McClure said investigators soon began to question the women’s statements.

ExploreMother, partner arrested after 8-year-old Gwinnett girl found dead

“I can’t speculate on why they reported her as missing,” McClure said Tuesday. “But our investigation revealed Amari was not, in fact, missing. Very early in the investigation, we began to suspect foul play.”

On Tuesday morning, Amari’s body was found in a wooded area in a DeKalb County neighborhood, McClure said. By then, both her mother and Owens were in the Gwinnett jail.

Owens was arrested Sunday night and charged with six counts of first-degree cruelty to children and making false statements, jail records show. Her charges were upgraded Tuesday to include murder, concealing a death, and a seventh count of child cruelty, according to jail records.

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The body of Amari Hall was found Tuesday morning in DeKalb County, according to Gwinnett County police.

The body of Amari Hall was found Tuesday morning in DeKalb County, according to Gwinnett County police.
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The body of Amari Hall was found Tuesday morning in DeKalb County, according to Gwinnett County police.

Late Monday, the girl’s mother was arrested and charged with making false statements, false report of a crime and five counts of first-degree cruelty to children, jail records show. By Friday, her charges had been upgraded to include both felony murder and malice murder. No further details have been released about the investigation.

Both Owens and Hall were being held without bond late Friday.