Georgia police have arrested and charged a man with a 1988 murder of 8-year-old Joshua Harmon after a new review of DNA linked him to the crime, according to the Roswell Police Department.
James Michael Coates, 56, faces numerous charges including felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated child molestation, concealing the death of another and tampering with evidence.
“The death of Josh and the fact that his killer remained free for such a long time is unimaginable,” Roswell Police Chief James Conroy said in a press release. “I hope this arrest brings the Harmon family a sense of closure.”
According to Fox News, Harmon was reported missing on May 15, 1988 after he did not return home for dinner. He was later found in a wooded area near his home. At the time of the murder, Coates lived in the same apartment complex.
In February, his body was exhumed with permission from his family in hopes of finding more evidence. Additional DNA testing on evidence from the crime scene was done and linked Coates to the slaying, according to a press release.
Fox News reported that Coates has twice been convicted of child molestation for crimes that happened in 1990 and 1993. After the 1993 conviction, he spent two decades in prison and was released in 2013, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records.
Police say that while an arrest has been made in the case, it still remains under investigation. Anyone with information should contact the Roswell Police Department at 770-640-4100 or provide anonymous information through Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477.