East Point police released a sketch Tuesday of a teenage girl whose body was discovered Saturday just after midnight, hoping the public can help identify her as frustrations about crime and safety continue to grow among neighbors.
The girl, who was believed to be between 14 and 17 years old, was found by police lying partially nude on the west side of a vacant house in the 2200 block of Ben Hill Road around 12:20 a.m., East Point police Capt. Allyn Glover said. It was determined that she died from blunt force trauma, Glover added.
Authorities are trying to figure out where the girl died, but Glover said it appears the body was dumped at the site.
“We don’t know if this happened here or if it happened in Seattle, Washington. We just don’t know yet, but our main focus is to find out who she is and determine what happened to her so we can solve this or we can help another jurisdiction solve this,” Glover told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via phone Tuesday.
John Adams, who has lived in the Jefferson Park neighborhood for eight years, said he hopes the girl is identified soon so that her family can find some peace. But for him, another violent crime so close to home is not surprising.
“It really wasn’t shocking. That area seems to be one of the hotbeds for live activity,” Adams told the AJC. “It seems like a lot of violent crime happens in that area. I mean, it’s terrible, but it’s not shocking. I’m almost numb to it at this point.”
The anxiety surrounding crime in the neighborhood has been a major topic among residents since last year, the AJC previously reported. Violence has become so commonplace that it’s become a joke among neighbors to wonder if what they heard was gunshots or fireworks, Adams said.
In December, residents claimed the lack of police presence had made the city an attractive destination for criminals. Since then, Adams said he has seen more officers driving around and that the department has positioned authorities in places where crime is prevalent.
Glover said that since police Chief Shawn Buchanan took over, he has put officers who previously worked mainly in the office out on the streets to increase patrol and visibility. He said the goal has been for residents and criminals to see police patrolling so that it pushes crime out. Regardless, he advises residents to remain vigilant after Saturday’s incident as the department works to find answers.
But, for Adams, more police will not solve all crime-related issues in the city.
“I hear so many people screaming that we just need more police. ... I really don’t think that’s the answer,” he said. “This is a low-income area. People are desperate for survival and a lot of people, a lot of us have undiagnosed mental illnesses, and that’s going to contribute to crime.”
Adams expressed how each time someone is killed within the city limits, it doesn’t get any easier for neighbors.
“It has been a little bit more stressful (than last year), but I think it’s kind of calmed down now. I think we’re all kind of getting used to it. But when things like this do happen, it rips us apart,” he said.
East Point police are asking anyone who recognizes the victim or has information on the case to contact 404-761-2177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.
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