Tests confirm remains are those of 5-year-old girl


May 18, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

DNA testing has confirmed human remains found in February in the Winterhaven area are those of 5-year-old Angel Hart, killed in 1993.

County Coroner Investigator Gary Hayes revealed today the results of the DNA testing he had sought to confirm the identity of the remains.

Since visitors in Winterhaven found the remains, authorities had treated them as if they were those of Angel, who was killed in Kansas City, Mo., because she could not recite her alphabet.

The story of her death is grisly.

Authorities think Angel was killed Feb. 24, 1993. She was living with her mother, Angela Melton, four other siblings, and her mother's boyfriend, Gary Christian.


According to investigators, Christian became angry when Angel could not recite the alphabet. He struck her, then plunged her into a tub of water until she drowned.

He then entombed her body in a container and concrete. Christian loaded her body and drove with Melton and the rest of the children to California.

Authorities said Christian dumped the body near Araz Road in the Winterhaven area.

Authorities became aware something was wrong when Melton applied for aid in El Cajon and claimed only four children.

An investigation started that led to the prosecution of Christian. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

Melton served 17 months for child endangerment and welfare fraud. Melton was not charged with murder.

Christian agreed to show authorities where he had left the body but could not recall the area.

A wildfire last year cleared brush from the area and partially destroyed the concrete block and container that held the remains.

Former Staff Writer Marcy Misner contributed information tot his story.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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