The body of Elijah Smith (left) was found in the woods in Twigg County on June 17. Hali Karlan (center) and Deri Bonaventura-Flores (right) are charged with murder in Smith’s death.
Photo: submitted photo, Alpharetta police; Fulton and Polk County jails
Photo: submitted photo, Alpharetta police; Fulton and Polk County jails

911 call: Before his death, N. Fulton teen last seen with suspect

When Elijah Smith’s family hadn’t seen or heard from him for almost a day, his sister called 911.

Smith, 16, was last seen by his mother and sister on June 13 in their Extended Stay hotel room in Alpharetta. His sister called for help the next day when he hadn’t returned home. Smith’s body was later found in the woods in Jeffersonville.

Channel 2 Action News obtained the 911 call this week, and it reveals that someone in the hotel last saw Smith walking with one of the suspects charged in his death.

Smith’s sister told dispatchers that she last saw her brother around 11:30 p.m. on June 13, but her mother talked with another guest at the hotel who said he last saw Smith “walking with a white female towards the store.”

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Police told Channel 2 they believe that female is Hali Karlan, who along with Deri Bonaventura-Flores, was charged with Smith’s murder.

Police believe that Karlan, 20, of Roswell, and Bonaventura-Flores, 19, of Norcross, shot Smith and dumped his body in Twiggs County. Karlan told police that she and Bonaventura-Flores, her boyfriend, had an argument with Smith while they were taking him to buy cigarettes.

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“(Smith’s mother) is really upset,” the sister told dispatchers. “She’s like, hysterical. She can’t really talk. She’s really worried about him – he’s only 16. She can barely talk.

“They’re not from Georgia. They’re from Michigan. My mom just moved down here and she’s working and everything, so he don’t know nobody down here.”

Smith’s sister told police that he came and went from the hotel room, but that “he always returned,” and when Smith left that Tuesday night he left his money and cell phone in the room.

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Karlan is being held in a Fulton County jail and is facing six felony charges. Jail records show she has twice before been arrested for simple battery, in incidents that occurred in January and September of 2016. She has a preliminary hearing on Friday.

Bonaventura-Flores is still being held in a Polk County jail on unrelated charges. Cedartown police told Channel 2 that on May 30, Bonaventura-Flores and others were involved in a drug deal that ended with another teenager shot.

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Elijah Smith's sister called 911 after they realized the teen was missing.

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