1988 cold case: Man arrested, charged in murder of 8-year-old boy

ROSWELL, Ga. — A Georgia man has been arrested and charged with the murder of an 8-year-old boy who was killed more than three decades ago.

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WSBTV reported that James Michael Coates, 56, was arrested on July 21.

He faces multiple charges after DNA evidence linked him to the murder of Joshua Harmon of Roswell, Georgia.

Joshua’s parents reported him missing on May 15, 1988. His body was found 48 hours later near his apartment building.

But no one had been charged in the boy’s death despite the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s continued work on the case.

“Investigators regularly revisited the case over the intervening years in pursuit of justice for Joshua and his family, and evidence was consistently re-examined to keep pace with evolving leads and advancing technology,” Roswell police told WSBTV.

Earlier this year, with his parents’ permission, Joshua’s remains were exhumed for evidence collection.

Testing linked Coates to Joshua’s death, WSBTV reported.

Coates faces a variety of charges including murder, aggravated child molestation, false imprisonment and concealing the death of another, WSBTV reported.

Despite Coates’ arrest, police said the investigation is still active.

For more on the case, click here.

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