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Dahlonega residents stunned by Brunns local ties
Former neighbors describe murder suspect as troubled
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The mood on Sleepy Hollow Road in Dahlonega on Thursday was that of shock and disbelief.

Ryan Brunn, whose family lives on the tree-lined road in Dahlonega, appeared in court that day wearing a bulletproof vest. He's facing charges of sexually assaulting and killing Jorelys Rivera, 7, last week in a Canton apartment complex.

Bond was denied at the hearing, and he's being held in isolation for his safety.

But the 20-year-old's former neighbors in Dahlonega were trying to grasp the fact that the suspect in the crime lived right next door. Brunn moved to Canton from Dahlonega just one month ago.

Chasity Sanford lives about a hundred feet from Brunn's mother's Sleepy Hollow Road home. She has two young daughters and wonders if their safety could have been at risk.

"I've got two little girls, so it's really scary living next to somebody that would do something like that," she said.

Neighbors describe Brunn as having a troubling past in which police were called to the family's home on several occasions.

"I've never really met him. We've called the cops on him several times," Sanford said.

In October, Sanford called police because she said Brunn was smoking marijuana in her backyard.

"I've really been keeping up with everything because I'm definitely moving if he comes back here," Sanford said.

Other neighbors said they have also notified police of incidents involving Brunn, including marijuana use and domestic violence.

"We have had several instances where some questionable things have happened," said Brittany Partin, who also lives next door. "There's just been several things where we were caught off guard but we didn't know what to do."

In one example, Partin said Brunn punched his family dog in the face.

Partin still said she is shocked about the news of his arrest in Rivera's death.

"I'm still very surprised. I didn't think that anything like that would happen here in Dahlonega, especially to think it was them next door," she said. "I'm just horrified. I feel especially bad for both moms."

A convenience store about a mile from the family's home buzzed with the news.

"Customers were talking about that in the morning when I got here. Everybody was talking about it," Ali Bukhari said.

The store clerk then looked up a photo of Brunn and realized the man was a customer of the store on multiple occasions.

Like so many others, Bukhari is shocked that a customer he served is now facing such horrible allegations.

"If we have these kind of customers, you have to be kind of aware of that," he said. "... You don't know."

Family members and Brunn's public defender say he is innocent.

Brian Staples, whose brother is married to Brunn's sister, said Brunn is outgoing and friendly, not the socially awkward, quiet maintenance man that residents at the apartment complex described.

He said Brunn is "into helping people, not hurting people."

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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