Elijah Foster is accused of concealing the death of Mercedes Chico-Sims in Roswell, Georgia, police said. Chico-Sims, 17, was found dead close to a swimming pool in the town, which is 25 miles north of Atlanta, on the morning of May 29. Foster, 18, was taken into custody on May 30, according to authorities.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. There Were ‘Obvious Signs of Trauma’ on Chico-Sims’ Body
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Foster lived in the Nesbit Ferry Road Atlantic Newtown apartment complex, where Chico-Sims’ body was found by a maintenance worker. The newspaper adds a police source saying there were “obvious signs of trauma” on the deceased teenager’s body.
2. Elijah Foster Is Facing a Statutory Rape Charge in Another Case
In addition to the charges facing Foster regarding Chico-Sims’ case, police said he is facing statutory rape in an unrelated charge. NBC Atlanta reports that Foster has also faced “multiple thefts and burglary charges” in the past.
Chico-Sims was a student at Centennial High School. Lt. Noah Caplan of the Roswell Police Department told the media on May 30, “We’re still investigating witnesses and others who may have knowledge of the incident. So there’s always the potential for additional charges down the road.”
3. Chico-Sims Was Messaging a Boy on SnapChat at the Time of Her Disappearance
Chico-Sims’ mother told Johns Creek Police Lt. Todd Hood, according to WSB-TV, that her daughter regularly sneaked out of her home in the night but would always return by the following morning. Hood described Chico-Sims’ behavior as being “typical teenager stuff.” He added, “We do show there is some activity on her Snapchat account at a certain time and after that, there hasn’t been any additional activity.”
NBC Atlanta reports that Chico-Sims logged into her Snapchat account on the night she went missing and was messaging a man. That man said that Chico-Sims had been supposed to come to his home but that she never showed up.
4. One Friend Paid Tribute to Chico-Sims Saying She ‘Always Had a Smile on Her Face, Even During Rough Times’
WSB-TV also reported that on the night she vanished, Chico-Sims messaged a friend about meeting up but that friend said the 17-year-old never showed. Speaking to the station, Chico-Sims’ friend Savannah Howard said, “t was so unexpected. I was shocked. I felt sick to my stomach. She had the biggest heart ever. She always had a smile on her face, even when she was going through rough times.”
5. Chico-Sims’ Family Has Asked Anyone With Information in the Case to Come Forward
In a statement, via WSB-TV’s Mike Petchenik, Chico-Sims’ family said, “Beyond our grief, our commitment is to honor and remember the life of Mercedes with the support of our family and friends. If anyone has any information that will help in the investigation into Mercedes’ death, please notify the police immediately … Please remember Mercedes as you keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. We miss you Mercedes.”