Susana Morales murder: Father files lawsuit against apartment complex

The father of 16-year-old Susan Morales, who was allegedly kidnapped, raped and killed in 2022 by a now-former Doraville police officer, has filed a lawsuit against the apartment complex where she was last seen.

The lawsuit was filed against Sterling Glen Apartments, Strategic Management Partners, Park Drive Equitites and five others listed as "John Does."

What happened to Susan Morales

Morales disappeared while visiting a friend's home in July 2022. Morales' family members told police they hadn't seen her since the evening of July 26, 2022. That night, detectives said Morales texted her mom at 9:40 p.m. to tell her she was on her way to her home on Santa Anna Drive. Officials confirmed an app on Morales' cell phone showed that she was walking in that direction on Singleton Road from Windscape Village Lane between 10:07 p.m. and 10:21 p.m., but detectives said they had reason to believe she had gotten into a vehicle.

Susana Morales, 16. (Credit: Gwinnett Police Department) (Supplied)

Between 10:21 p.m. and 10:26 p.m., her phone indicated that she was in the area of Oak Loch Trace and Steve Reynolds Boulevard. Her phone pinged that location until it either died or was turned off. Morales never made it home.

A breakthrough in the case came on Feb. 6, 2023, when officers responded to a wooded area along Drowning Creek Road after someone reported they found what they believed to be human remains. 

The Gwinnett Medical Examiner's office tested the remains and said the DNA matched Morales' dental records. The site was about 20 miles from where the teen was last seen.

A few days later, police announced they had arrested 22-year-old Miles Bryant, who was employed as a police officer for Doraville at the time of Morales' death, for murder.

Former Doraville Police Department Officer Miles Bryant arrested in death of 16-year-old Susana Morales.

Former Doraville Police Department Officer Miles Bryant arrested in death of 16-year-old Susana Morales. (Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)

Why the apartment complex is being sued

According to the lawsuit, Bryant lived at the same apartment complex Morales was visiting the day she disappeared—Sterling Glen Apartments on Indian Trail Road in Norcross. He also provided security for the complex.

The lawsuit alleges that the apartment complex should have known that Bryant was a threat to those who lived in and visited the complex based on his past behavior, including loud and physical altercations with his girlfriend and his troubled history as a police officer. It also says that the defendant failed to provide proper training and/or supervision of Bryant and other employees to ensure such employees did not pose a threat to residents and visitors.

Additionally, the lawsuit says the defendants were aware that the apartment complex was in need of repairs and knew about prior crimes and security issues on the property but failed to act upon this knowledge and implement security measures to prevent future crimes. The lawsuit also accuses the defendants of failing to warn people visiting the apartment complex of the existence of previous criminal activity and failing to provide adequate security.


The lawsuit is asking to recover the full value of the life of Susana Morales and damages. Morales' father is also asking to be compensated for pain and suffering, mental anguish, funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and more.

Susana's father is also asking for a jury trial.