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Body found at Chestnut Ridge Park identified

POSTED: January 10, 2014 12:05 a.m.

A body found in the bathroom at Chestnut Ridge Park in October has been identified as a 21-year-old woman who had been reported missing from Flowery Branch.

DNA test results confirmed the identity, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Kayla Nelson, also known as Kayla Weil, was reported last seen in or around June, the sheriff’s office said.

Relatives reported her missing from Flowery Branch in September, a news release stated.

Cleanup crews found the body at the park north of Gaines Ferry Road in South Hall, off Lake Lanier, and alerted authorities.

Upon arrival, sheriff’s deputies found human remains wrapped in a blanket inside a bathroom, said Lt. Stephen Wilbanks, who was the sheriff’s office spokesman at the time of the discovery.

The body was sent to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Chestnut Ridge is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property that was closed to the public several years ago.

Wilbanks said then that the park had fallen into disrepair and had been vandalized and accessed illegally.

“Vandals had been going in there and stealing copper from the building; we’ve had periodic complaints of unauthorized people camping there,” he said. “A lot of the park is bordered by the lake, so it’s easily accessible by the water.”

The main road to the park has been gated for years, Wilbanks said.

Investigators have not released a cause or manner of death, which sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Mark Mitchell said will now be the focus with the victim’s identity confirmed.

“That’s what the investigation is now focused on — determining all the variables about the death itself and how that person came to be there,” Mitchell said.

The case remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office’s Criminal Investigations Division.


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