Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Harlem, GA: Teen suspect's caretaker speaks about his upbringing, murder charge of ex-girlfriend

Posted: 8:00 PM Feb 1, 2011
Reporter: Bryan Baker
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HARLEM, Ga. -- 14-year old Aaron Schmidt's troubles may have started nearly a decade ago, when his mother says she lost custody of the young boy, because she was living in unfit conditions.

Years later, the Harlem teenager faces murder charges in the shooting death of neighbor and ex-girlfriend Alana Calahan. Schmidt has also been charged with possessing a firearm.

He's now in the Richmond County Youth Detention Center. A Superior Court hearing has not yet been set.

Schmidt's caretaker is his half-sister, Dianna Chitty, decades older than him. They live less than half a mile away from Alana's home on Miles Road in Harlem.

Chitty says Schmidt is a ninth grader at Grovetown High School, where he takes a class for students with anger and behavioral problems. She says he was beginning to assimilate into regular classes.

At their home, Chitty searches for Schmidt's youth in pictures, staring at one, speaking to it as if the young boy is alive inside.

"You shouldn't have been over there little brother," she says.

Schmidt's five-year old fingerprint is on an identification card Chitty finds at the home. Nine years later, he's being fingerprinted again after being arrested for murder.

They are adult charges given to a boy who is still a long way from becoming a man.

"Only God can help him get through this," says Chitty.

Chitty recently grounded him to keep him away from problems in the neighborhood. She knows what she'll say to Schmidt when she can finally speak to him.

"By you not listening to sister, it will get you in trouble," says Chitty. "Now look Aaron, look what's going on hun, you should have listened to me."

Outside of being grounded, investigators and the family say Schmidt and Alana spent time together often. They were at one time in a relationship, but as of yesterday were just close friends.

Alana, now fatally shot in what would be Schmidt's final visit.

"(Schmidt) led us to the weapon," said Columbia County Capt. Steve Morris.

According to Morris, Aaron told them he tossed the gun in the woods near the home. Investigators believe the 9mm belonged to Alana's father and was not locked up. Alana was shot in an office area at the home near a computer.

"He moved the body from inside the home to the wooded area," adds Capt. Morris.

"Somebody took her from me," said Alana's mother Betty on Monday night. "I don't know why. But she was a very beautiful, precious girl. She loved everything."

And Alana had hundreds of people that loved her too. A Facebook page created in her memory has nearly 1,000 people connected to it.

Tonight, Chitty is thinking of Alana as well.

"We're mourning for their family too," she said. "They have a loss, a void in their life, it's always gonna be there, I'm just praying that God will help them."

Investigators say they are still gathering details on the case, including how Schmidt got the weapon and why he allegedly shot her.

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