More than 30 years after an 8-year-old kid named Joshua Harmon was discovered dead in the woods of an Atlanta suburb, a convicted s*x offender named James Michael Coates was arrested.
In the 1988 homicide of Joshua Harmon, James Michael Coates faces many accusations, including murder and aggravated child molestation, according to Roswell police. He was arrested after a traffic stop while riding in an Uber on Wednesday.
Coates, of Woodstock, was apprehended after DNA evidence from the crime scene tied him to the murder, according to police.
He is 56 years old.
James Michael Coates had been convicted of a number of offenses, including child molestation, for crimes committed between 1990 and 1993, according to police records.
Following his last conviction in 1993, he was sentenced to 20 years in jail, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. Joshua Harmon’s case started in May 1988, when he failed to come home for supper, prompting his parents to submit a missing person report.
Police discovered him dead in the woods near the family’s apartment complex on Raintree Way after a 48-hour search.
According to Roswell Police Chief James Conroy, who spoke to the press at a news conference on July 23, Coates was a resident of the same complex. According to the police, Coates was apprehended after DNA evidence taken from the crime scene linked him to the murder.
Roswell police got cash from Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in March 2021, allowing them to pay for additional testing on evidence from the initial murder scene by Cyber Genetics Inc., a private, independent laboratory.
A warrant for his arrest was issued, and the 56-year-old felon was apprehended without incident on July 21 during a traffic stop by an Uber.
James Michael Coates Charges
Coates remained in custody on Friday, facing allegations of murder as well as sodomy, child molestation, and enticing a kid for immoral purposes. It was unclear whether he has an attorney who could be contacted on his behalf for comment.
The Roswell Police Department has made an arrest in the 1988 murder of 8-year-old Joshua Harmon. James Michael Coates, 56, of Woodstock, was taken into custody July 21st and booked into the Fulton County Jail on multiple charges including Murder.
Joshua’s parents reported him missing on May 15, 1988, after he failed to return home for dinner. His corpse was discovered in a wooded area near his flat after many hours of searching. According to police, Coates resided in the same apartment building as him at the time.
The case became cold, according to police, but they examined leads over time as law enforcement technology improved.
In February 2021, police said they exhumed the boy’s remains with his family’s agreement in the hopes of uncovering further evidence. Additional DNA testing was performed on material recovered from the crime site, and the results tied Coates to the crime, according to authorities. At Friday’s news conference, Joshua’s aunt, Marlene Carlisle, became upset as she thanked the investigators. She stated they “always took anything and everything we had to say to heart and ran with it.”
Carlisle said, “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,”
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