AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – The search for Latania Janell Carwell has come to an end.
On Saturday Augusta authorities identified a body found in a shallow grave as Latania Janell Carwell.
In June 2017, her stepdad Leone Tripp was arrested in DeKalb County in related to her kidnapping case. He was the last person she was seen alive with after police say he kidnapped her from her Richmond County home.
In court in June, prosecutors said that Leon Tripp admitted to authorities that Carwell is dead.
On Thursday March 8th, the remains were found in a wooded area behind a home on Golden Camp Road. The site was excavated and the body sent to the GBI Crime Lab for identification. Using dental records, officials were able to identify the remains of Latania Carwell.
Latania Carwell was last seen alive on Apr. 17, 2017. At the time, it was believed that she left with her stepfather, Leon Tripp, to help a friend with vehicle troubles. A few days later, the sheriff’s office announced that Tripp was wanted for her kidnapping. Latania’s mother, Tonya Tripp, pleaded with the public to help find her daughter. Leon Tripp was arrested May 23 in DeKalb County. Tonya Tripp was arrested the same day after it was revealed she had moved out of her Augusta home and headed to the Atlanta area to be with Leon.
On June 12, Sheriff Richard Roundtree announced the investigation was no longer searching for a missing person. He said at the time, “We no longer consider this a missing person investigation but we are now conducting an active homicide investigation.”
In August, the charges again Leon and Tonya Tripp changed. Leon Tripp was now being charged with murder and kidnapping. Tonya Tripp was charged with concealing a death.