GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Law enforcement sources said they are closer than ever to finding out the fate of Justin Gaines, who disappeared nearly 8 years ago.
Investigators have issued an arrest warrant for a man who is accused of helping to conceal the death of Justin Gaines.
An arrest warrant was issued for Martin Leonard Wilkie on September 2nd as authorities were days into searching a property in the High Shoals area identified by an informant. The warrant outlines what investigators believe is the concealment of death of Gaines. Authorities in Walton County accuse Wilkie of helping to dispose of Gaines' body after an assault that ended in deadly shooting of the teenager. The warrant alleges that Gaines' body was transported to Walton County in a black metal toolbox for disposal.
This month's search in Walton County didn't yield any new clues and a police eventually arrested Tammy Ballew, 51-year-old burglary suspect who tipped off investigators, for making a false statement.
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter warns that with this arrest warrant may come to a big dead end.
"I think they are following up on an unproductive lead that has already been investigated," Porter told FOX 5's Aungelique Proctor.
Gaines, 18 at the time, disappeared in November of 2007. The last time anyone saw him was at the Wild Bill's venue in Duluth.
Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway has vowed to follow any and every lead in the case.
Justin Gaines' Mother More than Ready for Closure
Erika Wilson, the mother of Justin Gaines, said it has been hard to watch recent developments in the case, but she is ready for the truth no matter how painful.
“I am hoping this brings closure and answers. This is the closest we have been in 8 years. It has been a long time,” said Wilson.
Wilson believes investigators are moving in the right direction. Earlier this month, they arrested Martin Wilkie on a concealing a death charge, as investigators scoured High Shoals in Walton county looking for Gaines' remains.
The Wilkie arrest warrant stated that Gaines was assaulted, shot, and then stuffed in a metal tool box.
Two law enforcement sources told FOX 5 News that several witnesses said Gaines' body was first taken to Lake Lanier, but the body was moved because the lake levels dropped.
FOX 5 tried to talk to Wilkie Tuesday from his Sunrise Cove Marina home, but the 57-year-old referred all inquiries his attorney.
Wilson said she is particularly bothered that Walton County grandmother Tammy Ballew told authorities she was involved. Ballew was charged with lying in the case.
Investigators said they begin making progress when Ballew's son, federal inmate Dylan Glass, started talking about his involvement.
Justin ' s mother said she wonders how her son, who was last seen at Wild Bill's in November of 2007, got mixed up with So Many lawbreakers.