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Police: Missing Gwinnett girl found dead; Mom's partner to face murder charge

Police said they are planning to charge the mother's partner with felony murder.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Update: The Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Family & Children Services has provided a statement, revealing that the DHS had a previous history with Nicole Amari Hall.

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Family & Children Services is aware of the tragic death of Nicole Amari Hall and is working closely with law enforcement to assist them in their investigation. DHS has previous history regarding this child, including unsubstantiated investigations in 2015 and 2017, and a report received in 2021 that contained no allegations of abuse or neglect. Concerning any of the mother’s other children, the Department is working closely with law enforcement to ensure their safety and well-being.

ORIGINAL STORY: Police said a missing 8-year-old girl out of Gwinnett County has been found dead. The child's mother and her partner will face charges in the case, according to police.

Authorities said Nicole Amari Hall was found dead Tuesday around 10:45 a.m. in a wooded area by the Stone Mill Trace neighborhood in DeKalb County.

"Unfortunately these are not the results we hoped for," Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The chief said the child's mother, Brittany Hall, was arrested Tuesday morning. She was already in custody on other charges when they found the little girl.

Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

Hall, 27, is facing several felony charges of child cruelty stemming from incidents in July, according to warrant documents. The mother is accused of physically abusing her three children in an incident caught on video, records show. The warrants say the mother slapped one child several times on the back and face, going as far as punching and kicking a child. Arrest records show Hall is also facing a charge for falsely reporting a crime. Chief McClure said his department is now working to charge her for concealing her daughter's death. 

The mother's partner, Celeste Owens, will face a murder charge in the girl's death, the chief said, clarifying the 29-year-old is also already behind bars. Jail records show Owens was arrested on six cruelty to children charges and is being held without bond. 

Investigators had been searching for the child since Sunday morning when her mother first reported her disappearance from HomeTowne Studios hotel in the Peachtree Corners area of Gwinnett County.

Police said the child and her mom were new to the area and had been staying in the hotel for nearly three months. 

The child's mother told investigators she last saw the 8-year-old before going to sleep Sunday between midnight and 1 a.m., police said. Authorities said the missing person's call came in at 9 a.m.

Hall's other children are now in the custody of DeKalb County Division of Family and Children Services, according to authorities.