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Complex linked to missing Clarkston baby known for crime, poor conditions

A fatal shooting and missing child case were recently linked to Brannon Hill.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The search for 1-year-old Blaise Barnett has ended with the child found safe Thursday afternoon after being missing for nearly 39 hours.

However, his disappearance puts a fresh spotlight on a troubled community in Clarkston. Brannon Hill is complex sometimes described as the "worst community in America." 

11Alive first visited Brannon Hill about 10 years ago, when it was a squalid, burned out property that seemed borderline uninhabitable. Now, a lot has changed.

RELATED: This is how missing baby Blaise was found

"I don’t like to live like this. I have to move out from here," said Johannes Abebe, who moved into the complex a decade ago – shortly after he immigrated from Ethiopia.  

Brannon Hill is a sprawling complex with dilapidated structures that conceal spaces that many would consider to be barely livable.

Most recently, it was the spot where authorities found the car overnight linked to a missing child case. Earlier this week, police worked a fatal shooting on the same property.

RELATED: Disagreement leads to deadly shooting in DeKalb County, police say

"I have to move out from this area because there’s no safety. Sometimes they burn the houses. You see so many things. I have to leave," Abebe added.

Years ago, DeKalb County arranged to bulldoze portions of the property, hoping to close the book on a place that has been crime ridden for years. Yet Brannon Hill persists. Abebe said he stays there because it only costs $500 a month but he said even the cheap rent is losing its appeal.

"If I can afford another place, I have to move out from here. That’s my plan," he explained.

Brannon Hill persists in part because it is a condominium complex with multiple owners, giving authorities multiple parties to deal with for code enforcement and other issues.

 

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