Today, the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office announced the identification of William DaShawn Hamilton, a 6-year-old child found deceased in 1999, who spent the last two decades without a name.
The unknown child found in Decatur, Georgia has been ID’d as 6-year-old William DaShawn Hamilton.
His mother, 45-year-old Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with two counts of Felony Murder, two counts of Cruelty to Children, Aggravated Assault and Concealing the Death of Another.
The break in the case came when a tip was called into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children from a someone who knew Teresa and William back in 1998 and had been searching for William ever since.
Ava, who preferred to keep her last name private, says she was very close with Teresa and William when they lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. She often took care of William and described him as a fun, witty, adventurous and intelligent little boy who loved to dance.
“He liked to crack jokes,” said Ava. “He did like to draw a lot, color, mainly read books. He didn't want you to read to him…he wanted to read to you!”
To hear more from Ava, check out this NCMEC video.
According to investigators, Teresa left Charlotte, North Carolina with William. But she returned without him. And investigators say she had different stories about where William was.
After 23 years, Ava’s tip called into NCMEC gave new direction to the investigation. Our team followed up, researching, analyzing and trying to connect the pieces to help investigators track down William’s family. With DNA work provided by our partner, Bode Technology, William’s identity was officially confirmed.
“This case is a perfect example of why we never give up hope,” said Angeline Hartmann, Director of Communications at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “For more than two decades, a woman in Charlotte followed her gut feeling that something wasn’t right. She made phone calls, scoured the internet and talked to anybody who would listen. We’re grateful she never stopped until she found that rendering of William online and gave investigators the missing piece to help solve this 23-year-old mystery. A huge thank you to the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office, the Dekalb County Medical Examiner’s Office and Dekalb County Police for their hard work that brought us here today.”