Sixteen-year-old Cheyanne Nicole Hair was killed more than 150 miles from the small town where she grew up. But a family member said the pretty teenager was even further away from the life she left behind.
“She was really outgoing, liked to have fun, be with her friends and spend time with her family,” Cheyanne’s cousin, Samantha Hadden, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Her moving away was really out of character for her.”
While family members struggled with Cheyanne’s death, they learned Friday that the teenager’s boyfriend was allegedly responsible. And at the time of her death, Cheyanne was pregnant, according to police. Jonathan Michael Smith, 34, was charged with murder and feticide Friday afternoon, the GBI said. He was denied bond Saturday and remained Monday in the Jackson County jail.
“They’d only been together like a month, if that,” Hadden, 18, said by phone late Friday from Emanuel County. “When they got together, I tried to tell her that he didn’t look like her type … not trying to be mean about it, but kinda being mean about it.”
Hadden kept in touch with Cheyanne through text messages and Facebook and said the two were more like sisters growing up. Since moving more than a year ago with her mother from south Georgia to Spalding County, Cheyanne’s life had changed and Hadden worried about her and wasn’t sure if she attended school. Her worst fears were confirmed when she learned of Cheyanne’s death.
Investigators believe Smith and Cheyanne had recently moved from Spalding County to Jackson County. Around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, a 911 call was placed from the Winder Highway home in Jefferson where the two were living, Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum said. It was not known Friday where Cheyanne’s mother lived.
Cheyanne was transported by ambulance to Athens Regional Hospital, where she later died.
Within hours of Cheyanne’s death, Smith was arrested for allegedly violating probation on unrelated drug charges in Spalding County, according to police. Smith was already in the Jackson County jail when the additional charges were added Friday afternoon, booking records show. Police said Smith could face additional charges, but did not specify what those may be.
On Thursday, police called Cheyanne’s death suspicious, but declined to elaborate, pending an autopsy. Early Friday afternoon, the GBI announced that Cheyanne’s death had been ruled a homicide.
“The cause of death is not being released at this time because the investigation is active,” GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said in an emailed statement.
Jefferson police initially responded to the home before it was determined to be in unincorporated Jackson County and in the sheriff department’s jurisdiction. The GBI is assisting with the investigation.
Funeral services for Cheyanne will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Peebles-Curry Memorial Chapel in Swainsboro, with Rev. Josh Black officiating. Interment will follow in the Stillmore City Cemetery.