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Arrest made in murder of East Point officer

6:51 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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EAST POINT, Ga. -- The U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and Fulton County Police have arrested the former partner of East Point Police Cpl. Crystal Parker for her murder. 

Danielle Parker waived her first court appearance Wednesday morning. She was arrested Tuesday afternoon at an apartment on Fairburn Road and faces one count of murder.

According to a family friends, Danielle and Crystal dated for about five years but recently went their separate ways. The couple lived together in the Creel Road home where Crystal's body was discovered. 

The Fulton County Medical Examiner said Crystal Parker died from a gunshot wound to the head. Her body was found shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday. Authorities did not specify how many times Parker was wounded, but said she had been dead for about three days prior to her discovery. 

Her father and one of her brothers spent nearly four hours talking with investigators on Tuesday.

"I want my baby's killer or killers found and brought to justice.  That's all I'm asking," said her father, Joseph Parker.

He said the frustrating part is the waiting.  He's been unable to get inside her house or even plan her funeral.

"I found myself the last couple of nights, God you take care of this. It's not in my hands. Anger is gone. I'm hurt, you can't just kill a person like that," he said.

A resident of East Point has started a fundraiser, so the community can show its support by buying a wreath for her funeral. 

Nathan Strange also hopes there will be enough money to feed the East Point police officers the day of Parker's memorial and make a donation in her name to a charity chosen by the family.

Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester said the 34 year old was discovered by a family friend who checked up on her after not hearing from her for several days. Parker was single and had no children.

PHOTOS | Cpl. Crystal Parker

Wearing a black band across the badge resting near his heart, East Point Police Lt. Cliff Chandler struggled to fight back the tears as he talked about Parker on Monday.

"She was one of our trusted people, one of our good officers and a very good friend," he said.

Chandler supervised Parker on the night shift. She worked the bike patrol, but showed her true character as a training officer in the field.

"She knew the law, she knew how to protect herself and she was able to transfer those traits to the officers that were in her car with her," Chandler said.

According to a police report, Parker had a home security system. It went off during a break-in on June 16. Parker arrived home to find officers responding to the alarm. The back door was open.

"It just hurt me that this could happen in my neighborhood, it's a tragedy," said Destiny Harrison, who took a picture and a stuffed bear out of her home to begin a memorial in front of Parker's house.

"I had a daughter that passed and those are one of her bears and the candles represent light. Whatever happened is going to come to light. It means something to me," she added.

East Point Police confirmed Parker worked for the department for six years and was Police Officer of the Year in 2012.

"She was a very, very good officer. I trusted her with assignments. She could step in when we needed her," Chandler said of Parker.

Chandler added that the department "offers the most sincere condolences to her family."

Danielle Parker is due back in court on July 29.

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