Missing Augusta teen appears to have led quiet life

LaTania Carwell's Sophomore class photo at Josey High School.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – NewsChannel 6 has been committed to learning more about LaTania Carwell in hopes of helping in the search for the 16-year-old.  It was mid-April the last time anyone saw Carwell.  Richmond County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation six weeks ago into the teen’s disappearance.  LaTania Carwell left her home with her stepfather, 38-year-old Leon Tripp, on Tate Road in Richmond County.
Investigators are still searching for her, with the help of many in the community. Snce then, both LaTania’s mother, 35-year-old Tanya Tripp and her husband Leon have been arrested and jailed.

NewsChannel 6 has new information.  We have been talking with Richmond County Board of Education and we know that she did not show up for school on April 17.  That was the day her mother reported her missing.  She was a student at T.W. Josey Comprehensive High School.  The BOE released yearbooks at the school for the past two years.  We scanned through both the 2015 and 2016 books and found her class photos.  What we did notice while looking at the yearbooks is that LaTania was not involved in any extracurricular activities.  She was not in any sports either.

We also went to her church, Greater Young Zion Baptist Church on Sand Bar Ferry Road in Augusta. There, we found out that she was not involved in youth ministry or any other ministries.
Additionally, we drove around the neighborhood where the Carwell family lived and spoke with people. They agree the story just does not sit well with them, but they did not want to go on camera at all. What we did see in the neighborhood is a local church, Belle-Terrace Presbyterian Church, asking for prayers for the Carwell family. We talked with the pastor and he said he wants to keep LaTania on everyone’s mind.

“Just to remind the congregation that as Christians, as believers we have a responsibility,” Senior Pastor Harold Harris told us.  “And we do believe that faith does change things.  Prayer changes things.”

The pastor said some of his Parishioners live near the Carwell family’s former home and they are very concerned about this case and that’s why he put the message on the sign.

NewsChannel 6 will keep following this story.

If you have any information, please email rdubose@wjbf.com.

Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins

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