Tara Louise Baker: Ga authorities arrest man in link with 2001 murder of legislation university scholar


Far more than two many years following authorities discovered a University of Ga law student’s system at her apartment, wherever they say a fireplace was established intentionally, a male has been arrested and charged in connection with the chilly circumstance.

Tara Louise Baker was discovered useless in her Athens, Ga, dwelling by Athens-Clarke County firefighters on January 19, 2001, a day in advance of her 24th birthday, according to a information release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On Thursday, point out and county investigators reported Edrick Lamont Faust, 48, was arrested and faced a number of fees in relationship with Baker’s dying, like felony murder, aggravated assault, arson and aggravated sodomy, the news launch says.

Faust, a resident of Athens, stays in jail on a $15,000 bond, in accordance to Clarke County Sheriff’s Place of work jail records. CNN could not ascertain no matter whether Faust has an attorney.

“Tara Louise Baker was a hardworking scholar with a brilliant upcoming ahead of her,” GBI director Chris Hosey claimed in a assertion. “Tara’s lifetime was stolen from her in a horrific act of violence.”

Baker, a to start with-calendar year legislation pupil from East Place, Georgia, was final found alive by a close friend at the UGA Legislation University Library on January 18, 2001, around 7:30 p.m., according to GBI’s unsolved murder webpage on the case.

Authorities say Baker, though however at the library, identified as the exact buddy all around 9:46 p.m. to make certain they experienced arrived house safely. Baker told her close friend she planned to go away the library about 10 p.m.

The murder investigation into Baker’s dying ran cold for 23 many years.

The GBI’s Cold Situation Unit partnered with the Athens-Clarke County Police Office in September 2023 “to carry out an in-depth evaluate and evaluation of the ongoing investigation into Baker’s death,” in accordance to the news release.

Athens-Clarke County law enforcement main Jerry Saulters, who was an officer at the crime scene in January 2001, said in a assertion that he’d hoped for a long time Baker’s relatives would obtain justice.

“I keep in mind currently being there through that horrific time,” Saulters claimed. “Seeing this scenario now complete circle, I take pleasure in the tough do the job of the detectives, from then and now. Understanding that the proof gathered at that time contributed to the arrest currently presents me incredible satisfaction in all the officers who worked this situation above the decades.”

Meredith Schroeder, Tara Baker's sister, speaks at her memorial service the UGA campus on Jan. 20, 2021.

The Baker spouse and children suggests they have very long waited for an arrest announcement, but “it is not a working day without having grief and unanswered questions,” they said in a assertion offered by Athens genuine criminal offense podcast host Cameron Jay Harrelson, who covered the student’s tale in a collection on the Vintage Metropolis Criminal offense podcast.

“Our relatives is eternally grateful to the Chilly Case Unit with the Ga Bureau of Investigation, the Athens-Clarke County Police Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation for their devotion and diligence in bringing us closer to the truth of the matter that has eluded us for 23 several years,” the family’s assertion browse.

Harrelson, who related with Baker’s family members 4 decades in the past by means of a mutual good friend with Baker’s sister, said the family has extensive advocated for progress in the chilly scenario.

“A mother’s coronary heart in no way presents up, she never ever gave up on searching for the reality,” Harrelson instructed CNN of Virginia Baker, Tara Louise Baker’s mother.

The late legislation college student, who in May 2003 was posthumously awarded her legislation degree from UGA’s University of Regulation, is remembered by family, good friends, colleagues and classmates as a “champion of justice” who was “fiercely faithful,” according to Harrelson, who said he interviewed hundreds of all those who understood Baker for the podcast series.

“She thought in the software of the law. She considered in battling for folks that have been significantly less lucky or whose modern society may possibly look at to be underdogs, or the remaining behind and forgotten,” Harrelson mentioned.

“I’ve read several tales of how she was never scared to say what she felt, but always with kindness,” he included.

Georgia’s Coleman-Baker Act, which proven a new chilly circumstance device inside of the GBI, in accordance to CNN affiliate WRDW, was passed very last yr and named in honor of Baker and Rhonda Sue Coleman, an 18-12 months-previous large faculty college student who was killed in Jeff Davis County, Ga, in 1990.

The arrest of Faust in Baker’s circumstance will make it the 1st situation solved by the GBI’s new cold circumstance unit, a GBI spokesperson advised CNN on Saturday.

Loved ones of Tara Louise Baker honored her in Athens, Georgia, with a flower memorial on January 20, 2021.

Harrelson states he along with the Baker and Coleman households advocated for the regulation.

“We did not have any understanding that this monthly bill would at any time affect change for the Baker loved ones themselves,” Harrelson mentioned. “The way we spoke about it frequently was that even if this doesn’t help Tara’s scenario, there are many households out there that with a 2nd glimpse, (the bill) could aid.”

He added: “I could not have thought of a better way to honor Tara Baker’s everyday living and legacy, a legacy of fighting for justice and believing in the law, than for this invoice to have not only been named immediately after her but to have introduced about justice for her.”

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