Woman Allegedly Learned Boyfriend Was Married. Then He Burned Her Body, Left Remains in Cemetery: Police

Grisly alleged details emerged in the death of missing mom Briana Winston, 23, that “not even we were expecting to hear,” a Georgia police official said Monday

<p>Clayton County Police Department</p> Briana Winston and Michale Edwards

Clayton County Police Department

Briana Winston and Michale Edwards

A Georgia man has been arrested on accusations he killed the mother of his child and burned her remains after she learned he had secretly married another woman, say authorities.

During their investigation into the disappearance and death of Briana Winston, 23, of College Park, Ga., Clayton County Police unearthed alleged “intricate details that not even we were expecting to hear,” Lt. Ashanti Marbury said at a press conference Monday.

Winston was reported missing at the beginning of April when her worried family hadn't been able to reach her since mid-March, according to police.

Her family became further concerned when they allegedly discovered that her apartment had been "completely cleaned out by the father of her child and live-in boyfriend, Michale Edwards," Clayton County Police said in a statement on April 26.

On Monday, police announced that they had arrested Edwards in connection with Winston's death after their investigation led them to Tennessee.

In early May, detectives met with an unidentified man in Gates, Tenn., who agreed to speak to them in exchange for immunity since he had allegedly helped Edwards dispose of Winston’s body, Marbury said.

Detectives learned that on the morning of March 17, Edwards went to the apartment, where “she confronted him after learning about his infidelity to her,” Marbury alleged on Monday. They argued, and police allege “he choked her,” Marbury said.

Edwards placed Winston's body into a suitcase and drove to the unidentified man’s house in Gates, where they put her body into a burn barrel, doused it with accelerant and set it on fire, police allege.

They burned it for hours “until just skeletal remains” were left, Marbury alleged. “Then they used a shovel to break down Briana’s bones in an attempt to speed up the burning process,” she added.

Edwards disposed of a portion of the remains along Interstate 40 in Tennessee, Marbury alleged. The other man “dumped her remains in a cemetery" behind a church, she alleged.

On April 4, investigators interviewed Edwards, who was arrested on a warrant for aggravated stalking for allegedly violating a protective order stemming from an alleged Oct. 2023 domestic violence incident involving Winston, Marbury said. Edwards is also charged with aggravated assault, malice murder, felony murder and tampering with evidence.

Marbury said the case “turned into a family affair" when Edwards allegedly “looped everyone into this crime.”

On April 5, investigators interviewed Edward’s wife, Brienna Phillips-Edwards, who was arrested on a warrant after allegedly providing false statements to police, Marbury said.

“We also learned in that interview on April 5 that she had secretly married Michale on Jan. 25, 2024, and that nobody was aware that the two were married,” Marbury alleged.

She is also accused of providing Edwards with a vehicle to take Winston’s remains to Tennessee, Marbury said.

Also arrested were Edwards’ mother, Ebony Anderson, and his brother, Keilan Wright, on charges of conspiracy of tampering with evidence after they allegedly disposed of a pair of shoes and a pair of gloves Edwards asked them to burn during a recorded jailhouse call, Marbury said.

Edwards is charged with malice murder because the crime "took some forethought," Marbury allegedly. "This was not a crime committed in the heat of passion. There was malice there.

"The option was to walk away," she continued. “You have the option to walk away from arguments.”

Edwards remains held without bond at the Clayton County jail.

It is unclear whether he or the others have retained attorneys who can speak on their behalf. It's not clear if any of the defendants have entered pleas to the charges they face.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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