Three bodies were found in an abandoned car on a highway in 2013. Now, a school teacher has been arrested

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For more than a decade, the cold case of three bodies found stuffed inside a car on a Georgia interstate has remained unsolved – until now.

Keante Harris, a middle-school assistant principal in Alabama, was arrested last week in connection with the triple homicide. He is one of four men to be arrested over the case.

Mr Harris was arrested on a fugitive from justice charge and is facing murder charges in Georgia.

He has worked in education since 2006, according to his LinkedIn page. Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he works at McAdory Middle School.

“We have been made aware that Mr. Keante Harris was arrested Wednesday afternoon. At this time, we still are gathering facts about the specifics of this situation,” Mr Gonsoulin said in the statement.

Keante Harris, an assistant principal for the Jefferson County school district in Georgia, has been arrested in connection to a 2013 cold case (Jefferson County Jail)

“However, early indications are that the charges are not related to this individual’s employment with Jefferson County Schools. Per standard procedure, Mr. Harris has been placed on paid administrative leave. As more facts become available, we will act according to our district’s policy.”

Kevin Harris, Kenneth Thompson and Derrell Adams were also taken into custody, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. All four men are facing murder charges in Georgia.

In January 2013, an officer discovered the bodies when he stumbled upon an abandoned Dodge Charger on the northbound exit ramp of I-85 ramp in Union City, Georgia.

Inside were the bodies of Cheryl Colquitt-Thompson, 32, Quinones King, 33, and Rodney Cottrell, 43, authorities said. Colquitt-Thompson’s body had been stuffed in the trunk while the other two bodies were inside the vehicle.

Cheryl Colquitt-Thompson’s body was found stuffed inside the trunk of a car that was abandoned on the side of a Georgia interstate in 2013 (WSFA)

An investigation revealed that the victims had been lured at gunpoint to a residence in Jonesboro, Georgia, where they were tortured and killed before their bodies were dumped in the Charger and left in Fulton County.

On 8 May 2024, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office obtained murder warrants for the four men and arrests were made across three different states - Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. They were each indicted on three counts of malice murder, according to the statement.

Authorities have not said how the men were linked to the case or why it took so long to make the arrests.

Quinones King’s body was found inside a car that was abandoned on the side of a Georgia interstate in 2013 after he and two others were tortured and killed (WSFA)

Keante Harris is being held in the Jefferson County Jail. The three other men are in custody in Georgia and South Carolina awaiting extradition back to Clayton County.

Tony Garrett, with Central Alabama CrimeStoppers, told WSFA he has never forgotten about the case and is hoping the reward offered is what helped lead to the arrests.

“We’re still offering the reward for this case, so we are waiting for them to get back with us to see if they had a tipster or if they had information come in to solve the case,” Mr Garrett said.

Rodney Cottrell was the third body found in the vehicle 11 years ago (WSFA)

He added that more and more cold cases are now being solved, thanks to technology.

“We are seeing DNA investigations, agencies combining more resources. We are seeing that there is a better solution or a better way to investigate so we are seeing technology catch up and we are seeing better communication,” Mr Garrett said.

CrimeStoppers is in contact with the family, Mr Garrett said. He said this is a case he’s never forgotten and that he still remembers the pain the victims’ families felt.

“This case actually helped me grow as a CrimeStoppers director because I was able to start off feeling what the family felt, not really, but being able to go through their emotions,” he said.

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