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Cops: GSU student ‘unrecognizable’ days before Gwinnett mall killing

Five weeks before police found Silling Man’s body nearly mummified in a room covered in her blood and hair, Man got a matching face tattoo with her boyfriend Emmett Davis, a Gwinnett County detective said Thursday.

Man’s face had decomposed to the point at which police couldn’t even tell she had the tattoo — three hearts on her left jawline — when they found her in the vacant Gwinnett Place Mall restaurant space on Dec. 21, 2017. What they did find was Davis’ fingerprint in Man’s blood, Detective Brian Dorminy said.

Davis has been charged with aggravated assault and felony murder in Man’s death. Dorminy recounted the details of his seven-month investigation at a Thursday hearing in Lawrenceville to determine whether the case would move forward.


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Davis did not speak during the hearing and his attorney asked only clarifying questions.

An autopsy determined Man died of asphyxia. She had four fractured ribs and a finger on her right hand was split open and fractured, the detective said.

Man left the home she shared with her uncle on Oct. 10, and her family never saw her again. Police believe she left to be with Davis. They’d been dating for a few months and Davis had met Man’s family, Dorminy said.

The couple stayed at hotels in the Gwinnett Place Mall area between Nov. 10 and Nov. 21. At one hotel, a manager observed bruising around Man’s eyes, as if she’d been hit. The manager called police, but Man refused to speak to officers once they arrived, Dorminy said. A police report wasn’t filed, and the couple left the hotel.

A necklace was found left behind at another hotel where the couple stayed. Man’s family said the Georgia State University student would never have taken off the important religious item, Dorminy said.

June 28, 2018 Lawrenceville - A family member of Silling Man becomes emotional during the preliminary hearing of Emmett Davis at Gwinnett County jail - Magistrate Court on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Emmett Davis was the boyfriend of Silling Man, the GSU student found dead in December in the back of a Subway in Gwinnett Place Mall. Davis is accused of killing Man by asphyxiation. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

On Nov. 15, 2017, the two got matching face tattoos. They were wearing identical outfits and aviator sunglasses, even though it was after 8 p.m. Davis provided the tattoo design and police are unaware if it has a specific meaning. The tattoo artist, who tried to dissuade Man from getting the tattoo since she had never gotten one before, saw a Glock pistol fall out of Davis’ pocket when he laid down to get his tattoo, Dorminy said.

Man picked up her last paycheck from the Michael Kors store at Perimeter Mall on Nov. 20, 2017. When she walked into the store, she was “unrecognizable,” employees said. She was wearing the same outfit she and Davis wore at the tattoo shop: a thermal jumpsuit, jacket and sunglasses. Man’s eyes looked “swollen” under the glasses, but she did not take them off, Dorminy said.

A manager was so alarmed at Man’s appearance that he called Dunwoody police, who arrived after she left the store. That is the last time Man was seen in public, Dorminy said.

Cell phone and Uber records show that Man and Davis were both at Gwinnett Place Mall around 3:40 a.m on Nov. 30.

When police responded to the restaurant space where Man was found on Dec. 21, Man’s blood and hair was “all over the floor” across two rooms in the restaurant.

Man’s shoe prints were in the blood, along with finger marks indicating she had been dragged through the blood, Dorminy said. Man was not shot or stabbed, but the blood could have come from the fractured finger, which appeared to have been “stomped on,” or from wounds to her nose or lip, the detective said.

Man was found wearing the jumpsuit that she was seen in at Michael Kors and in the tattoo parlor. The garment is designed to insulate heat, which contributed to the body’s level of decomposition, Dorminy said.

Two days after Man’s body was found, Davis pawned Man’s iPhone and went to stay with his mother in Brooklyn, New York.

Man’s family told police about Davis shortly after her body was identified in January 2018. Davis’ sister said that Davis had a history of abusing a past girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend told Dorminy that Davis would grab her by the throat, hit her and drag her by her hair when he got angry.

Davis was arrested June 14, about a month after he returned to Lawrenceville from New York. He is being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Detention Center. The issue of bond will be addressed by Gwinnett County Superior Court at a later date.


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Police have arrested Emmett Davis in the death of Silling Man

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