Georgia police make arrest in 1988 homicide of 8-year-old Joshua Harmon

Georgia police make arrest in 1988 murder of 8-year-old Joshua Harmon


James Michael Coates, 56, faces quite a few costs, police stated Friday, together with felony homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated little one molestation, concealing the demise of one other and tampering with proof, amongst others.

Source reached out to the general public defender’s workplace and a earlier legal professional for Coates Saturday morning to present them the chance to touch upon his behalf however has not gotten a response.

“The death of Josh and the fact that his killer remained free for such a long time is unimaginable,” Roswell Police Chief James Conroy stated in a information launch Friday. “I hope this arrest brings the Harmon family a sense of closure.”

Joshua’s dad and mom reported him lacking 33 years in the past in May 1988 when he didn’t return dwelling for dinner, police stated Friday. His physique was found in a wooded space close to his condominium constructing in Roswell, some 20 miles north of Atlanta, after a 48-hour search.

Despite investigative efforts by native police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation — together with the gathering of “valuable evidence” — the case finally went chilly, police stated.

“Investigators regularly revisited the case over the intervening years in pursuit of justice for Joshua and his family,” police stated in an announcement, “and evidence was consistently re-examined to keep pace with evolving leads and advancing technology.”

Joshua’s physique was exhumed in February 2021 in hopes of discovering new proof, police stated. The following month, the Roswell Police Department was granted funding by the Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative activity drive to “pursue additional DNA testing on evidence from the crime scene.”

Police didn’t element the character of the proof however stated the outcomes of DNA testing related Coates to Joshua’s homicide. Coates was taken into custody Wednesday, July 21, after police initiated a visitors cease whereas he was using in an Uber, Conroy confirmed throughout a information convention on Friday.

Georgia corrections data present Coates was beforehand convicted on little one molestation costs in 1993 for a separate incident.

Speaking at Friday’s information convention on behalf of the household, Joshua’s aunt, Marlene Carlisle, thanked legislation enforcement for his or her dedication to fixing the case, saying it was “bittersweet” for the household.

“These bulldogs that got through everything and worked for 33 years to solve this for our family — we are forever indebted to all of you,” she stated.

“Josh was an amazing young boy who had an uncanny relationship with nature and with God, so I know where he is and I know he’s at peace,” Carlisle stated.

Joshua’s mom, Cherie Carlisle Harmon, passed away last October.

“And my sister never gave up,” Carlisle stated, including, “I know she’s smiling down on everybody here today and thanks you all so much.”

The case stays beneath investigation, and a part of that investigation will contain making certain Coates didn’t victimize some other youngsters, Conroy stated. Anyone with extra info is requested to contact Roswell police.

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