Ethan Gathright (left), Savannah Adams
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

‘A horrible death’: Man arrested after girl, 5, found dead in her bed

A man on probation for multiple felonies has been charged with murder after a 5-year-old girl in his care was discovered dead.

The child, identified by authorities as Savannah Adams, was found lying in her bed inside a home on Butner Road in southwest Atlanta, according to police. She was dead when officers arrived about 10 p.m. Sunday.

While the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released an official cause of death, a police spokesman said Thursday that Adams suffered “substantial bruising.”

Capt. D’Andrea Price, who responded to the initial call, said the sight of Adams’ body has haunted her. 

“You could basically see the visible bruising to her body and her face,” she told Channel 2 Action News. “It was a horrible death. I actually didn’t sleep that well that night from seeing her.”

On Tuesday, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for 22-year-old Ethan Gathright, who lived at the home with Adams. A family member left the girl in Gathright’s care when she left for work and discovered her body when she returned, Channel 2 reported.


Before the murder charge was added Tuesday, Gathright was booked into the Fulton County Jail on Monday on charges of violating his probation and possession of a weapon by a felon. Investigators were questioning him that day about Adams’ death when they said they discovered a firearm in his vehicle and arrested him on the initial charges, according to Channel 2.

Gathright spent time in prison for a string of robberies in 2014 in which he targeted women in DeKalb and Fulton counties, the news station reported. He was paroled in 2018 and began probation in August of last year, state prison officials told Channel 2. 

Gathright remains in jail without bond.

Staff members of the Head Start program Adams attended have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with burial and other expenses. As of Thursday afternoon, donors had contributed nearly $2,000 toward a $10,000 goal.

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