South Carolina authorities have located the body of Nevaeh Adams, the 5-year-old Sumter girl reported missing after her mother was found murdered in their apartment over the summer.
On Tuesday, Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark announced Adams’ remains were discovered in a Richland County landfill Oct. 18 and that DNA testing confirmed it was the child’s body, WCNC reported.
“It was in fact Nevaeh that we had located in the landfill,” Roark said.
The grim discovery ended the nearly two-and-a-half-month search for the little girl’s remains. More than 400 searchers from 40 different agencies helped sift through an estimated 4 million pounds of material at the landfill. Forensic experts were also brought in to examine what was found.
In all, search crews spent 25 days scouring the garbage lot.
Adams’ murder rocked the Sumter community. Now Roark said he hopes the discovery will finally give the town and Nevaeh’s family some closure.
“It had an unimaginable impact in our community, on the family who were not ready to bury their children,” the police chief said. “It’s an impact that we will live with for the rest of our lives.”
The search for the young girl began in early August after officers were called to the Lantana Apartments, where Adams’ mother, 29-year-old Sharee Bradley, was found dead by her 12-year-old son.
Suspect Daunte Johnson, 28, was spotted leaving the scene, and he was later apprehended by police in a nearby neighborhood.
Johnson, who has an extensive criminal history, was charged in both murders after admitting to killing Adams and her mother with a knife. He told authorities he dumped the child’s body at the landfill after the killings.
Bradley’s son told investigators Johnson had been in the apartment in the hours leading up to her slaying, and Johnson was found with her identification and Social Security documents when he was apprehended.
Forensics evidence, including blood, lifted at the crime scene, led police to charge Johnson in Adams’ slaying, even though her remains had not yet been found, Roark said at a press conference announcing charges against the suspect earlier this year.
Johnson remains jailed at the Sumter County Detention Center.
In a similar case, Alabama authorities on Tuesday recovered the body of Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, 3, from a dumpster at a landfill after her abduction from a birthday party earlier this month. Police now have two suspects in custody.
Both cases have invoked memories of that of 4-year-old Texas girl Maleah Davis, whose remains were found in a trash bag along an Arkansas highway one month after she went missing. Derion Vence, the ex-fiancé of Maleah’s mother, has been charged in connection to her death.
Adams’ father, Dupray Adams, learned the heartbreaking news about his daughter days before it was announced to the public Tuesday. He told reporters he simply had no more tears to shed.
“I don’t have tears because of what they found,” he told reporters. “She’s with the Father. She’s in heaven. If that’s the case then I know she’s resting well.”