A mother’s report that her 5-year-old son was asleep in the back of a car when it was stolen was a hoax, and she and her boyfriend were being held as suspects in the boy’s death, authorities said Tuesday.
The body of Geontae Glass and the car that was reported stolen Monday morning were found Tuesday in a closed garage at a house in rural Etowah County, Sheriff James Hayes said.
Police were holding Shalinda Glass, 25, of Rainbow City, and Kevin Andre Towles, who is believed to own the house where the body was found, Hayes said.
The sheriff said they would be charged with murder.
The mother had reported Monday morning that her car was stolen with her son asleep in the back seat in the parking lot of a convenience store in Albertville in neighboring Marshall County, about 80 miles northeast of Birmingham. Witnesses reported seeing a man get out of a pickup truck and get into the vehicle, then driving away while someone else drove off in the pickup truck.
It was not immediately clear if the boy was dead at the time the car was driven off in Albertville. Authorities at a midmorning news conference in Gadsden said a cause of death was still being determined.
Authorities were trying to determine jurisdiction, but believed the child was killed in Etowah County, where the mother lives, and that the alleged cover-up was committed in neighboring Marshall County, where the car theft was reported.
Boyfriend has criminal record
Towles was believed to be the “main player” in the boy’s death, Hayes said in an interview. Authorities weren’t sure what happened, he said, but Towles has a criminal record and appeared to be “an abusive boyfriend of the mother.”
Towles has several residences, Hayes said, and investigators searching his home in Albertville discovered evidence that led them to the house in Etowah County. Besides the body, officers found more than $30,000 in cash, a small amount of cocaine, marijuana residue and weapons including an AK-47, Hayes said.
“We believe this is what he thought was his safe house, where nobody knew where he was,” Hayes said.
Hayes said the pickup truck also had been found and the driver was taken into custody for questioning. No charges were filed, but he said the investigation was continuing.
“We do expect others to be arrested,” he said.
Mom seen crying in parking lot
Gina Keeton, a clerk at the store, said she saw Shalinda Glass crying hysterically in the parking lot.
“When I asked her what was wrong, she said someone had taken her child and her car,” Keeton said.
Police issued an Amber Alert after the abduction report, and the sheriff said alerting the public to the description of Glass’ car might have thwarted efforts to dispose of the car and the boy’s body.
“The Amber Alert was absolutely critical in this case,” he said.
In addition to being accused in the boy’s slaying, Towles will be charged with drug offenses and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, the sheriff said.