Tea & Mystery: Hannah Truelove

Welcome to the B-Side’s Crime Podcast and Blog Segment Tea & Mystery, where we research open and unsolved cases. It is our hope that we can shed new light and bring attention to cases that need it desperately. We will cover homicides, missing persons/disappearances, suspicious deaths and even cases that may not have fully evolved into a homicides. 

If you have a case you would like us to look into or feature please send it over to tellyourstory@luna-owl.com or messages us at www.facebook.com/Catchyouonthebside The B-Side Facebook Page. 

I cannot think of a case that fits what we are looking to help with, more than the one of 16 year old Hannah Ozburn Truelove Incident date/otherwise known as the date she would be found: Fri, 08/24/2012 – 12:00. This is still an open case that is listed as active, so there are not a lot of details that are currently available to the public. But here is what I was able to find out so far. 

Hannah was a student at Gainesville High School, enjoyed music and gymnastics and aspired to be a Veterinarian. 

According to the GBI Hannah was reported missing on August 23, 2012 and was discovered murdered in a wooded area behind the Lake Lanier Club Apartments on August 24, 2012.   Hannah lived with her mother at the Lake Lanier Club Apartments in Gainesville, Georgia. 

In an area that seems to be shrouded with a lot of death and sadness, Lake Lanier was not actually what claimed the life of this Gainesville Teen. It is truly heart breaking to watch the news reports and hear her family speak out. Her father was heard saying in 2012 to an interview with WSBTV 

“This is so devastating, you know she was my little baby, always going to be my little baby.” His voice breaks and his chin weakens as he tries to fight back the emotions. No one can truly know what it feels like to lose someone in such a manner, especially a child, unless they have been through it themselves. 

So here we are 10 years later on this case that haunted her mother, who has since passed away.  [ Please note that since her mother has since passed away, old interviews are the only way to hear her part of the story, DO NOT speak ill of the dead please, just listen to the recorded interviews to hear all sides of the family stories.] But still continues to do so to her father, siblings, and family. The sad thing, to me, is they have an alleged suspect, however, they still lack of evidence need to able to arrest him.  They do claim they have some evidence however, the night that she was murdered it appears to have rained, diminishing some of the more viable pieces that could have led to an arrest earlier on in the case. The detectives on the case feel that it is without a doubt the person who committed this heinous act on Hannah and they have managed to interview this alleged suspect twice. 

According to an interview with WSBTV the police say: They’re hopeful new technology in DNA collection and testing can eventually link the suspect to the murder. And law enforcement welcomes anyone with information to still come forward. 

“We’re never going to give up, never lose hope,” Lt. Dan Franklin said. “As long as I’m around, I’m going to keep moving forward and do what I have to do to get justice for Hannah.” 

A bit more information about how the case unfolded: 

According to the crime watch episode aired on Nov 9th 2015, Hannah actually might have been receiving some unwanted attention online before she disappeared and was later found deceased. The link to that was found on a Facebook page Justice for Hannah Truelove, which is located below. 

Hannah was actually reported to have tweeted some seeming cryptic messages about a possible stalker.  However, her mother never knew this was the case. 

A few days later, Hannah’s mother comes home to find her daughter nowhere to be seen, strangely the interviewer Michelle Sigona says, not there to greet her mother when she got home from work.  

” I knew she had been there because, when I had come in from work she had thrown the mail on the couch.” – Mona Harris 

Her mother did not instantly look for her daughter, but instead took a nap after a long day of work according to the interviewer. When her mother woke up, Hannah was still not home and the apartment was quite. This turned Mona’s [Hannah’s mother] concern into panic, she reached out to her father, her friends and then to the police.  

Hannah would be found the next day, behind the apartment complex where she lived. She was stabbed repeatedly over and over again, according to the reports. Many in the profiling world would be lead to believe that this might indicate someone who knew her and not a random violent act. 

According to police, the stalker was interviewed and cleared. Then there was a silver- 4 door car that appeared later on the day that she disappeared, with three unidentified passengers in the car.  Hannah was later seen walking off with one of the guys from the car back behind the apartment complex, she was also seen alive later about an hour after that. The male, would remain a person of interest in the case. 

6 months later there were no leads in the case and Hannah’s mother would appeal to the community for help. Her family [ Mother & Father] felt that it had to have been someone she knew, that she would not just walk off with someone she did not know. They pleaded for help and for answers, and her father still does to this day. 

As I research this case more and more I can feel the outrage of the community, the sense of panic & loss from the family, and frustrations from the investigators. 

Should you know something more about this case or have heard something, someone talking, or maybe know someone who has please contact the Hall County Georgia Police Department or call into the GBI/Georgia Bureau of Investigation  Contact Info: GBI Region 8 Cleveland Office 706-348-4866 

There once was a Justice of Hannah Facebook page which looks to have since gone dormant.  

You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100079431537021 

It looks to be run by a David Gray and his Brother. Started in June of 2017 

They link a YouTube Crime Watch Segment with Matt Doran here: 

Information pulled from the Gainesville Times, WSBTV, GBI Site of unsolved crimes: 

Unsolved Homicide: Hannah Truelove 

Hannah Truelove 

Incident date: Fri, 08/24/2012 – 12:00 

Race: White 

Location: Lake Lanier Club Apartments, Gainesville, GA 

Hair Color: Brown 

Sex: Female 

Age: 16 

Contact Info: GBI Region 8 Cleveland Office 706-348-4866 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 8 field office in Cleveland, Georgia and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the murder of sixteen year old Hannah Truelove on August 23, 2012 to August 24, 2012.  Hannah was a student at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia.  Hannah lived with her mother at the Lake Lanier Club Apartments in Gainesville, Georgia.  Hannah was reported missing on August 23, 2012 and was discovered murdered in a wooded area behind the Lake Lanier Club Apartments on August 24, 2012.  

Crimes: Murder 

From WSBTV:

Nearly five years after her daughter died, Hannah Truelove’s mother, Mona Harris, sent Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Dan Franklin a letter and a collage of childhood photographs of Hannah. 

A decade after 16-year-old Hannah Truelove was found slain in the woods by her apartment, her killer remains on the loose, and still little is known about her life and what happened in the days leading up to her death. 

‘We’ll get there one day’: Investigator in Truelove case remains persistent 10 years later 

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/hall-county/were-never-going-give-up-decade-long-fight-answers-teens-murder/BQULGDRJXVDDNBQOE3XUKCAOBE/

From Gainesville Times:

https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/badge-bar/we-know-who-is-responsible-on-10th-anniversary-of-truelove-death-a-suspect-but-little-evidence/

Writer:

Nick Watson The Times Who did a Three Part Series on the anniversary, some of the series is below with the credit to the photographer and to the writer.

Hannah Truelove: 10 years later

This is part 1 of a three-part series on the death of Gainesville High student Hannah Truelove. 

Part 2: ‘She had the voice of an angel’: Hannah Truelove’s father speaks about the last time he saw his daughter

Part 3: ‘We’ll get there one day’: Investigator in Truelove case remains persistent 10 years later

Jeff Truelove last saw his daughter Hannah the night he dropped her off at a Gainesville apartment after an afternoon of shopping and dinner. Its been 10 years since 16-year-old Hannah was slain and her killer has not been found. – photo by Scott Rogers 

An out-of-state Vietnam veteran walking in the woods behind the Lake Lanier Club Apartments Aug. 24, 2012, spotted what he thought was a mannequin down in a ravine. 

As he got closer, he discovered it was the body of Hannah Truelove, a Gainesville High student who lived in the complex with her mother. The man recognized Truelove, 16, from a missing person report.  

She had been fatally stabbed.  

Hannah Truelove: 10 years later 

 
Now, for the first time, Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Dan Franklin told The Times that there is a suspect, but he feels there is not enough evidence for a conviction. 
 

“We’re confident we know who is responsible for her death,” Franklin said. 

“We’ve had a suspect since the beginning,” he told The Times. “Our issue is that we have a lack of evidence to tie that person to the crime. … It’s not to say that we have zero evidence, but we just didn’t have enough.” 

Though Franklin did not give many details, he said it is a male suspect who Hannah knew before she died. The man has been interviewed twice by law enforcement and has maintained his innocence throughout, Franklin said. 

On the 10th anniversary of Truelove’s death, The Times spoke with the investigator about where the case stands. 

Dan Franklin, an investigator with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, visits Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, the site where the body of Hannah Truelove was found at the bottom of a steep wooded area near Lake Lanier in August 2012. – photo by Scott Rogers 

Reported missing  

Hannah’s mother, Mona Harris, reported her missing at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 23, 2012. 

“Hannah would drop her stuff off in the apartment after school and come out and do what she was doing, which is hang out with her friends in this grassy area up here,” Franklin said, as he stood in the ravine where Hannah was found. 

Hannah had not always been good about going to school, and her mother didn’t always know where she was, records show.  

The Division of Family and Children Services had an open case at the time involving Truelove and her family. Hannah had been in trouble for truancy, and DFCS had investigated her claims of altercations with her mother related to Harris’ drinking, an issue the agency had identified as a risk in the home due to repeated incidents of drunk driving, records show. 

Just two days prior to her disappearance, a case manager had attempted to visit Hannah at home, but Harris couldn’t find her, according to a DFCS report.  

But an investigator did meet with the 16-year-old the day she disappeared. According to a DFCS report, a case manager met with Truelove at school that Aug. 23 and said the girl “appeared to be fine.” 

“They talked about getting her math grade up so that she could go into 11th grade math,” according to the report. 

Hannah was last seen at the apartments off of Dawsonville Highway, now known as MAA Lake Lanier, shortly after 7 p.m. 

A collage of Hannah Truelove photos is displayed inside the office of Lt. Dan Franklin of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. – photo by Scott Rogers 

Lack of evidence 

The man who found Truelove was visiting his daughter in the apartment complex. 

Liking to take walks in the woods, the man had called apartment management that week about a manhole cover that was missing where the woods begin. 

On Aug. 24, 2012, the man decided to walk down the ridgeline. 

“The main reason he was walking is to see if the manhole cover had been replaced,” Franklin said. 

A decade later, Franklin walked down the steep hill that leads to where Truelove was found. 

From the spot, one can barely make out the balcony of certain apartments through the trees. 

The city of Gainesville handled the missing person case and initially responded to the scene. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was also called to assist. 

Franklin lauded the city police’s quick response on the missing person aspect, with officers calling out Hannah’s name at a nearby dock and waking friends up in the apartments. 

Franklin said there is a line that cuts through the woods that delineates the city from the county, and Truelove was found just outside the line, putting the case in the county’s hands. 

As Franklin reached the bottom of the hill, he told The Times he is fairly confident that she was killed at the spot where she was found. The area is surrounded by trees and secluded, but the apartments are so densely populated that someone would have likely seen or heard something. 

A witness reported seeing her sitting early that Thursday evening on a wooden staircase that leads down to the trailhead. 

“I think she was led here or came willingly with the suspect,” Franklin said. 

Though the scene was dry and had grown vegetation, a heavy rain turned it into a fast moving creek. 

Franklin said it rained a few inches in the hours between Thursday night into Friday morning, and Truelove was “feet first into swift-moving water for at least an hour.” 

One of her flipflops was carried downstream a short distance and caught in a crook of some branches. 

“Her body would have been completely submerged in running water,” said Franklin, adding that her hair was swept back. 

That running water washed away a lot of the possible evidence in the case, Franklin said.  

That lack of evidence has prevented investigators from charging the suspect in Truelove’s death. 

Franklin hopes advances in technology will change that. 

And here is all the contact information once more:

If you have a case you would like us to look into or feature please send it over to tellyourstory@luna-owl.com or messages us at www.facebook.com/Catchyouonthebside The B-Side Facebook Page. 

For Reporting information in regards to the case of Hannah Truelove:

Contact Info: GBI Region 8 Cleveland Office 706-348-4866 

OR

Hall County Police

https://www.hallcounty.org/168/Sheriffs-Office

Headquarters

2859 Browns Bridge Road

Gainesville, Georgia 30504

Phone: 770-531-6900

Fax: 770-531-7150

North Precinct

122 Dean Street

Clermont, GA 30527

Phone: 770-533-7200

South Precinct

7345 Cody Drive

Flowery Branch, Georgia 30542

Phone: 770-533-7704

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