GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Nearly nine months after authorities found an 18-year-old dead at a metro Atlanta park, police have secured warrants for felony murder and aggravated assault in the case.
Gwinnett County Police said 20-year-old Austin Ford was already in jail in another jurisdiction for an unrelated matter. Now, he is facing charges in Tori Lang's death.
"I believe that he was actually a friend of Tori’s at one point and that is how they knew each other," said Gwinnett Police Sgt. Jennifer Richter.
On July 28, 2021, authorities were called to Yellow River Park around 6:30 a.m. and found the teen dead from a gunshot wound. Her car was found a week later burned and hidden in a wooded area of Hidden Acres Nature Preserve in DeKalb County, about five miles from the park.
Last year, her friends told 11Alive they didn't know why Lang would be in the Gwinnett County park; they sent their condolences to the family.
Tori, a 2020 honors graduate of Stephenson High School, was planning for college. Her father, who she is named after, previously told 11Alive she always lived for others.
“She just brought the best out of people,” her dad, Torrey Lang said last year. "She was a beautiful person, inside and out."
The police department said detectives have diligently and continuously worked on this case and followed up on leads. Richter said there were initially numerous people they suspected could possibly be involved. She said it took some time to zero in on the suspect.
"This was a very complex investigation that required our detectives to do a lot of work and a lot of interviews and speak to a lot of people that had been involved in Tori’s life before her death," she explained. "And over time they were able to develop this suspect and then they were able to put together enough information to link him to the crime."
Jail records show Ford is being held in Clayton County for an unrelated theft by receiving stolen property charge. Court records show he has been there since March 24.
He will be brought to Gwinnett County at a later date, police said.