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Atlanta student found dead had filed a police report on unwanted touching days before she vanished, authorities say

Atlanta Police Department

A Clark Atlanta University student who was found dead in a park had filed a police report describing unwanted kissing and touching days before she went missing, authorities said.

The man she filed the report against is now one of two people accused of her murder.

Alexis Crawford, 21, vanished from her off-campus apartment more than a week ago and was found dead in a park in nearby Dekalb County on Friday.

Her death was the result of asphyxiation, the Atlanta Police Department said Saturday in a news release that cited the medical examiner’s office.

Police identified the suspects as Jordyn Jones and Barron Brantley — both 21. One of the two suspects led investigators to where her body was found, Police Chief Erika Shields told reporters.

“While a motive has not been clearly established, the department did take a police report from Alexis Crawford on October 27, and this is a few days prior to her being reported missing,” Shields said. “In this report, Alexis described unwanted kissing and touching from Barron Brantley.”

Jones is the victim’s roommate and friend, police said. Brantley is the boyfriend of Jones.

Brantley was booked into the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Friday and is accused of murder along with three probation violations and “hindering person making emergency telephone call,” according to information from the Fulton County Jail.

He had been booked into that jail five times in the past two years, Tracy Flanagan, a spokesperson for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN.

Jones was booked Saturday and faces a murder charge, according to jail records.

Prior police contact

An October 27 police report says a detective spoke with Crawford, whose name is redacted in the report, at a hospital where a rape kit examination was done. Crawford told police that Brantley had rubbed his hand on her shoulder and kissed her on the neck, the report says.

She said she went into her room and he followed her, the report says. She told investigators she then went into the bathroom alone. Her roommate told police she found her shirtless boyfriend in the bathroom with Crawford, who was not fully clothed.

Crime scene investigators went to the apartment and gathered evidence that included Crawford’s underwear.

Brantley has not been charged in connection with the earlier incident.

When asked by CNN if Brantley is under investigation for rape or faces rape charges, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos responded, “I think it is safe to say every aspect of this case is under investigation. But we are not going to get into specifics of an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Last communications

Crawford’s roommate told police she saw her around midnight November 1 before going to bed, a police report said. She was not in the apartment the next morning when the roommate left for class, and the front door was locked with a dead bolt, the roommate told police.

Crawford’s iPhone, identification and debit card were missing from the apartment. Her phone charger and keys were found inside the apartment on the end table by the couch, the police report said.

Her sister told police they last spoke around 8:44 p.m. on October 30, when Crawford asked her sister what she planned to do over the weekend. Her sister said she wasn’t doing anything and Crawford stopped responding to texts after that, her sister told police.

Her mother told police she was in good spirits and laughing when they spoke that night. The next day, the family reported her missing.

The ‘apple of their eye’

Her family is devastated, said Rev. Markel Hutchins, who is advising the Crawfords. He described her as the “apple of their eye.”

Hutchins spoke with her parents after hearing about her death and says they are grieving.

“Alexis’ mother was literally unable to speak. All that she could do was listen as I tried to console and comfort her,” Hutchins said. “Alexis’ father said, ‘If they wanted to take somebody’s life they could have taken mine. They didn’t have to kill my baby, they didn’t have to kill her.’ “

In the heartbreak, the family is thankful for the support from the local community as well as from people all over the country, he said.

Shields extended her condolences to the family and says she wishes things turned out differently.

“The case has come to one of the saddest conclusions possible and has been absolutely heartbreaking,” the chief said. “To Alexis’ family, our hearts go out to you. I am so truly sorry that we could not provide you with a better ending.”

Clark Atlanta President George French Jr. sent a letter Friday to the university family expressing his condolences and said extra counselors would be provided.

“Our deepest prayers and thoughts are with her family,” French wrote. “Tonight we mourn together.”

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