A convicted felon is behind bars, accused in the murder of his girlfriend’s young daughter.
Ethan Gathright, 22, was arrested on March 30 in connection with the slaying of Savannah Adams, his girlfriend’s 5-year-daughter. Adams’ body was found in a southwest Atlanta home by the girl’s mother, who told law enforcement she left her daughter with Gathright while she was at work, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Police were dispatched to a home on the 2300 block of Butner Road shortly after 10 p.m. on March 29 after receiving reports of an injured person. Inside they discovered the 5-year-old “deceased in her bed,” according to a police incident report obtained by Oxygen.com.
A cause of death hasn’t officially been released by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. However, investigators noted that Adams had suffered “substantial bruising,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. A motive isn’t currently known either.
“You could basically see the visible bruising to her body and her face,” Capt. D’Andrea Price told WSB-TV.
The discovery of the toddler’s body haunted detectives long after departing the crime scene.
“It was a horrible death,” D’Andrea said. “I actually didn’t sleep that well that night from seeing her.”
Fulton County Magistrate Judge Linda Borsky signed a warrant for Gathright’s arrest on March 31. He was also charged with violating his probation and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Investigators later seized a Glock pistol, loaded magazines, live rounds, and a rifle butt stock from Gathright’s vehicle during a search warrant, according to a separate police incident report obtained by Oxygen.com. Police also confiscated a “small bag” of marijuana from him.
He’s being held on a $10,000 bond on the gun charges. No bond has been set on his murder charge.
“We’re very proud of the work our investigators have put into this case,” Sgt. John Chafee told Oxygen.com on Monday. “They take these cases very seriously. This case does remain open. At this point, we’ll be preparing to go to court on this.”
However, no court dates are in sight. The Office of the Fulton County District Attorney confirmed they received the case on April 1, however, Gathright hasn’t yet been indicted. Officials said grand juries and jury trials are on hold until the COVID-19 crisis stabilizes.
Gathright has an extensive criminal record and was on parole at the time of his arrest, police said. As a serial burglar, he often targeted women, ABC affiliate WJCL reported.
In 2015, he was arrested for battery and robbery, according to online jail records. Gathright was also arrested for violating his parole in 2019. He was convicted on second-degree burglary charges in DeKalb County in 2016.
“I’m so sad for this mother and this child but at the same time, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the spotlight is going to be shown on how broken the system is,” said Laura King, one of Gathright’s past victims, according to WSB-TV.
“He and one other person beat me in a parking lot in Target in the middle of the day and tried to run me over with my car and kill me,” King said.
It’s unclear if Gathright has retained legal counsel. The 22-year-old is currently being housed in a Fulton County jail.
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