Authorities make arrest in 2001 killing of Georgia law student who was found dead in a burning home


ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — More than two decades after a University of Georgia law student was found dead in her burning home, authorities have arrested a man and charged him with murder in her slaying.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Athens-Clarke County police on Thursday announced the arrest of Edrick Lamont Faust, 48, in the January 2001 killing of Tara Louise Baker. Firefighters responding to a blaze at Baker's apartment in Athens found the 23-year-old first-year law student's body.

Investigators determined that Baker had been killed and the fire intentionally set, and police had been trying to find Baker's killer since then. The GBI's cold case unit partnered with Athens-Clarke County police in September to do an “in-depth review and analysis” of the investigation, the GBI said in a news release.

The release did not indicate what led investigators to Faust or explain how or whether he and Baker knew each other. He was booked into the Athens-Clarke County Jail late Thursday on charges including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated sodomy, tampering with evidence and arson.

It was not immediately clear whether Faust had an attorney who could comment on the charges.

Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Jerry Saulters, who was an officer at the crime scene on January 19, 2001, said in the news release that he has hoped for many years that Baker's family would find justice.

“I remember being there during that horrific time,” he said. "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.”

GBI Director Chris Hosey called Faust's arrest “the first step in finding justice for Tara.”