published Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Southwest Georgia police find new leads in 1976 child slaying

OCILLA, Ga. — Police in southwest Georgia are working on fresh leads in the unsolved slaying of a 7-year-old girl in southwest Georgia nearly four decades ago.

Young Faleshia LaFrance Battle had been missing for four days when her body was found suffocated and dumped in a neighbor’s garden in Ocilla in 1976. No suspects were ever charged in the crime.

Now Ocilla police detectives have uncovered new information since the department reopened the case two years ago, WALB-TV reported. Detective Doug Douglas said he’s been interviewing potential witnesses and hopes updates in technology could also lead to a breakthrough in the 37-year-old killing.

“There’s promising leads and more information coming in,” Douglas said. “And we’re hoping that this is going to provide more information that will produce more leads and direction for us to go in.”

A $500 reward is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest.

The slain girl’s mother, Arlenda Roberts, has been helping police retrace the crime all these years later. Roberts said she still visits her daughter’s grave every week.

“It’s been like a living nightmare,” she said. “I mean, it’s rough. It made me a very angry person. A lot of resentment, a lot of bitterness, and it’s just as if my baby was killed and forgotten.”

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