The suspicious death of a Gainesville teenager was ruled a homicide by investigators on Monday.
The body of Gainesville High School student Hannah Truelove, 16, was found Friday night near Lake Lanier Club apartments on Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville, where she lived with her family.
“We know that she did receive injuries that resulted in her death,” said Sgt. Kiley Sargent, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “Injuries on her body were indicative that she died from a violent death.”
Sargent said the department cannot release any more details as to how the teen died but did confirm investigators think it was not a random act.
“We have information that would lead us to believe that this was a person that the victim knew,” Sargent said.
He said investigators are seeking and interviewing potential witnesses and people of interest.
This morning, the Gainesville High community grieved Truelove’s death.
“We have counselors available and spread throughout the school, and the teachers are giving students time to talk and process it,” said Merrianne Dyer, Gainesville City Schools superintendent. A moment of silence also was held for Truelove.
The campus was closed Monday to the general public, including media.
But while the students mourn, Dyer said, they are also dealing with the suspicion surrounding Truelove’s death.
“It’s a little different than other tragedies we’ve been through,” she said. “The students are talking about it. ... Students are sad and they’re grieving, but there’s also an element of fear.”
Truelove’s body was found by a man walking on a trail in a wooded area behind Lake Lanier Club apartments.
Truelove had been missing since Thursday, last seen near the apartments, according to law enforcement.
Since then, authorities have been following up on leads.
“We do anticipate more leads coming in through the week,” Sargent said Sunday. “Kids tend to talk and we hope that as people discuss this — parents and whatnot — that somebody will come forward with some real good evidence that could break the case for us.”
Authorities also are investigating whether Truelove had a stalker, based on a comment posted on a Twitter page she appeared to use, according to Associated Press reports.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.
Hall County Deputy Coroner John Abernathy said Monday an autopsy had been done, but results aren’t being released because of the investigation.
“Right now, we’re just encouraging folks if they do have any (information) or they have seen anything during that time period that she was missing to call us,” Sargent said. “We would like to determine if there is anything to their story, no matter how small it is.”
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the sheriff’s office at 770-531-6879, the Tip Line at 770-503-3232 or submit a tip online.
Funeral services for Truelove are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Timber Ridge Baptist Church. Little & Davenport Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.