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Police Say They’ve Solved UGA Student Tara Baker’s Murder After 23 Years

Tara Baker’s family placed a memorial outside the UGA Law Library on the 20th anniversary of her murder. Credit: Cameron Jay

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Athens-Clarke County Police Department have made an arrest in the Tara Louise Baker case 23 years after the University of Georgia law student was murdered.

GBI agents charged Athens resident Edrick Lamont Faust, 48, with Baker’s murder, along with aggravated assault, concealing the death of another, arson, possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, tampering with evidence and aggravated sodomy. The GBI did not give a motive for Faust’s alleged actions.

The GBI’s Cold Case Unit began working with ACCPD on the investigation last September.

“For many years, I have hoped the Baker family would find justice for the loss of Tara,” ACCPD Chief Jerry Saulters said in a news release. “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.”   

Saulters was one of the officers on the scene Jan. 19, 2001, when firefighters found Baker’s body while responding to a fire at her Athens apartment. The case has fascinated the public ever since. The first season of the Classic City Crime podcast focused on Baker’s then-unsolved murder.

Originally from Lovejoy, Baker graduated from Georgia College (Now Georgia College and State University) in Milledgeville, then enrolled at UGA for law school. She was 23 when she died.

Classic City Crime host Cameron Jay Harrelson released a statement on behalf of the Baker family:

“While this is a day we have long prayed for, it is not a day without grief and unanswered questions. 

“Our family is eternally grateful to the Cold Case Unit with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation for their dedication and diligence in bringing us closer to the truth that has eluded us for 23 years. 

“To all the people who have joined our fight, community and have grown to love Tara we cannot begin to express our gratitude for the outpouring of love and support. We know our Tara held a special place in many hearts. 

“As we process this new information and forge a path we ask for patience and respect for our family’s privacy.”

The GBI said a news conference will be scheduled in the coming days.