Leon Tripp is the stepfather of missing Augusta teen Latania Carwell. (Credit: Twitter)

Missing teen may be dead, prosecutor says

A 16-year-old Augusta girl who has been missing since April is feared to be dead or is unable or unwilling to communicate, a prosecutor said in court Monday.

There’s no evidence to suggest that Latania Carwell went voluntarily with her stepfather, Leon Lamar Tripp, on April 17 when she was last seen, Richmond County District Attorney Natalie Paine said Monday. 

The girl’s mother, Tanya Tripp, told investigators it was after midnight when Leon Tripp said he was taking her along to help a friend whose vehicle had broken down, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

Leon Tripp was denied bond Monday, the newspaper reported. He and Tanya Tripp are being held in the Richmond County jail after they were arrested in metro Atlanta. He’s charged with kidnapping, and she’s charged with hindering the apprehension of a criminal, according to jail records.

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Leon Tripp was in Johnson State Prison from June 2009 until April 2015 for aggravated assault, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records. He remains on probation as part of that sentence.

Tanya Tripp married Leon Tripp while he was in prison, the Chronicle reported.

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