Man arrested in death of teen whose body was found near Lake Lanier

Sarai' Llanos Gómez (left), 19, was found dead in Flowery Branch on June 20. Authorities arrested 49-year-old Timothy Kreuger (right) on a murder charge after searching his home in Duluth on Thursday.

Combined ShapeCaption
Sarai' Llanos Gómez (left), 19, was found dead in Flowery Branch on June 20. Authorities arrested 49-year-old Timothy Kreuger (right) on a murder charge after searching his home in Duluth on Thursday.

Gwinnett County police have arrested a suspect in the death of a teenager whose remains were discovered in June in a wooded area near the eastern shore of Lake Lanier.

The victim, 19-year-old Sarai’ Llanos Gómez, was spotted by a passerby June 20 in the area of Paradise Point Road near Flowery Branch Bay. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office had previously released a forensic sketch of the woman before she was identified last week.

ExploreAuthorities release sketch of woman found dead in Hall County

Timothy Krueger, 49, was named a suspect in the case Wednesday after a lengthy investigation led deputies to believe Gómez was killed at Krueger’s home in Duluth. Gómez, a native of Ecuador, was living in Atlanta at the time of her death, authorities said.

Gwinnett police made the arrest Thursday, according to a news release from the police department. Initially, Krueger was suspected of concealing a death, and police obtained a warrant to search his home.

“He was taken to Gwinnett police headquarters, where detectives from Gwinnett and Hall spoke with him about the incident,” Gwinnett police spokesperson Sgt. J.R. Richter said in the release. “Ultimately Krueger provided a full confession.”

He is now facing charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.

According to Telemundo Atlanta, Gómez was a mother of two and traveled to the United States in August 2021. She settled into a family member’s home in Chicago and worked various jobs at restaurants before being offered a waitress job in Atlanta.

ExploreOfficials ID teen found dead in Hall County, confirm homicide investigation

Gardenia Gómez told Telemundo the job was not what her daughter expected, but instead a sex trafficking network. Richter, the Gwinnett police spokesperson, confirmed she was engaged in sex work but could not say if she was a victim of sex trafficking.

While investigators have not determined a motive in her death, Richter said they believe Gómez came into contact with Krueger through her work. They believe she was killed June 16, four days before her body was discovered.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch praised the work of his investigators, crediting the collaboration between the agency’s criminal investigations division and special intelligence unit for the arrest. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and GBI were also involved in the investigation.

“Six weeks ago we had no idea who our victim was and we had no leads on her killer,” Couch said in a statement. “After hundreds of hours of intense investigative work, our team was able to put a suspect behind bars. I pray this brings a sense of justice to Ms. Gómez and her family.”

Krueger is being held in the Gwinnett County jail without bond.

— Staff writer Caroline Silva contributed to this article.