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Murder Charge For 12-Year-Old Boy

Police say a 12-year-old boy used his hands to strangle a third-grader who disappeared while riding her bicycle to a nearby friend's house.

Amy Michelle Yates, 8, was found dead Monday night, hours after she went missing. Tuesday afternoon, the boy was arrested and charged with murder.

Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley and Chief Deputy Sheriff Brad Robinson would not disclose what led investigators to the boy, whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile. He was being held in the Paulding County Youth Detention Center in Dallas, Ga.

Many of Amy's neighbors helped her parents search the area late Monday after they learned she never arrived at her friend's home.

Her body was found in tall weeds about 100 feet outside the Twin Oaks Mobile Home Park, which next to low dense woods. Her bike was found between two abandoned trailers within view of her home.

Children in the trailer park don't typically play where Amy was found, said Bill Vallandingham, 39, a neighbor who helped with the search.

"It's so thick back there," he said. "It's hard to find anybody."

Amy would have turned 9 on May 5. Neighbors described her as a bright, energetic girl who made friends easily. Her classmates at Central Elementary School were having trouble dealing with her death, said Carroll County Schools spokesman Brian Doss.

Teachers informed students of her death Tuesday morning on a room-by-room basis, and counselors from throughout the school system will be on hand this week to help the children, Doss said.
By Elliott C. McLaughlin