ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A stepfather in a metro-Atlanta jail following the disappearance of his 16-year-old step-daughter could soon be back in Richmond County to face a kidnapping warrant. Leon Tripp was scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday morning.
Tripp’s lack of appearance in court told us very little about where LaTania Carwell might be. But we took a shot at trying to piece together the family’s time in Atlanta.
NewsChannel 6 traveled to the Fulton County Jail, Court #3 where Superior Court Judge Karen Woodson presided.
“Council are you ready to proceed?” She said in a small room that included Tripp’s public defender.
Judge Woodson moved forward with Tripp’s scheduled felony probation revocation even though he wasn’t there. A public defender representing the 38-year-old waived his rights to appear.
“Since this is a new arrest, this will be a failure to prosecute. Defendant shall continue on probation,” a court speaker stated.
Tripp left his Augusta home in the Terrace Manor neighborhood mid-April with his daughter, 16-year-old LaTania Carwell, in the middle of the night. Tripp was later arrested in Atlanta. Carwell is still missing, with an award being offered for her safe return.
Tripp’s case took less than one minute at the Fulton County Jail and he now faces extradition to Richmond County for charges of kidnapping in the case of the missing teen.
“Hereby notified by the court that he may be subject to a revocation hearing,” a court speaker stated.
Tripp’s probation violation stems from charges eight years ago, which include aggravated stalking and cruelty to children in the third degree. But scores of supporters who want LaTania found were hoping he appeared and talked.
NewsChannel 6 learned that Tripp and his wife Tanya, who was arrested for hindering the investigation, spent most of their time in Southwest Atlanta while on the run.
This map shows Leon Tripp and eventually Tanya made a 148 mile trip to a home in the Oakland City neighborhood in Atlanta.
That home is about one mile from Leon Tripp’s last known address and nearly two miles from the Stop N Shop Grocery where he was spotted the same week LaTania was reported missing. We took a trip to the home in the 1100 block of Selwin Ave., SW where police found Tanya was living with Leon and it appears as if the property is abandoned.
Other homes in the area were boarded up with overgrown weeds. Nearby, a house no longer stands at Leon’s old address.
While both her parents spent time around town, it is possible LaTania could have too. So,a billboard has gone up on an Atlanta interstate to help bring LaTania home.
Jail staff in Fulton County told us that Richmond County investigators could arrive within the next 24 hours to extradite Leon Tripp back to Richmond County for that hold for kidnapping. Richmond County Sheriff’s Office did not have an answer as to when that would take place.
We are still trying to figure out when Tanya Tripp will appear in a Richmond County court. We will give you the very latest when we know it.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins
Contributing: Devin Johnson