Arrest Made in 23-Year-Old Cold Case Murder in Athens, Georgia

Arrest Made in 23-Year-Old Cold Case Murder in Athens, Georgia

After 23 years of investigation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and Athens-Clarke County Police Department (ACCPD) have made a breakthrough in the murder case of Tara Louise Baker. Edrick Lamont Faust, 48, from Athens, has been arrested and charged with various offenses including murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and arson in connection with Baker’s death.

Victim: Tara Louise Baker

Tara Louise Baker was found dead in her Athens apartment after firefighters responded to a fire on January 19, 2001. The investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally set, sparking a decades-long search for answers.

The GBI Cold Case Unit, in collaboration with ACCPD, conducted a comprehensive review of the case in September 2023, leading to Faust’s arrest. Baker, a 23-year-old law school student at the University of Georgia at the time of her death, had a promising future ahead.

“Tara Louise Baker was a hardworking student with a bright future ahead of her,” says GBI Director Chris Hosey. “Tara’s life was stolen from her in a horrific act of violence. While this arrest does not bring her back to us, I pray that it helps bring closure to the Baker family as they continue their healing journey. I am proud of the work of the GBI Cold Case Unit and the GBI agents and scientists that devoted their efforts over the last 23 years to find justice for Tara. I also want to express my gratitude to Athens Clarke-County investigators and members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Georgia State Patrol who have partnered with us in this case. While this arrest is the first step in finding justice for Tara, there is still more work to be done. The GBI and our partners will never stop fighting for justice for victims and their families.”

“For many years, I have hoped the Baker family would find justice for the loss of Tara,” says Jerry Saulters, now Chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, who was an officer at the crime scene on January 19th, 2001. “This is a case that has lived with me throughout my career at ACCPD. I remember being there during that horrific time. Seeing this case now full circle, I appreciate the hard work of the detectives, from then and now. Knowing that the evidence collected at that time contributed to the arrest today gives me tremendous pride in all the officers who worked this case over the years.”

Multiple agencies and work units, including the FBI Gainesville RA, FBI Athens RA, FBI Athens Safe Streets Task Force, GBI Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office (ARDEO), GBI Division of Forensic Sciences, and Georgia State Patrol, assisted in the investigation, highlighting the collaborative effort to bring closure to the case.

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