On March 1st, 2019, 11 year old Amberly Alexis Barnett went missing from her Aunt’s mobile home in Alabama.
Amberly, lived in Polk County, Georgia with her mother, Jonie Barnett, but had been living with her Aunt at her trailer in Collinsville, Alabama near Mount Vernon, when she disappeared. On the evening of March 1st, her Aunt took a quick trip to a local Walmart with her boyfriend and left Amberly home alone. Amberly had asked for Chinese takeaway for dinner and had decided to stay home and eat while her guardians went out to the store. When they returned at around 6PM the 11 year old was nowhere to be found. Her cellphone, which she was usually glued to, had been left behind. Knowing that Amberly would not go anywhere without telling them first, they began to panic. She was quickly reported missing and the local police showed up at the home around an hour later.
Locals in DeKalb County began to search for the missing 11 year old, but could not locate her. One of those involved in the search was a 33 year old man named Christopher Wayne Madison, who reportedly who lived next door. Madison informed police that he had searched in and around the premises to the best of his abilities but had, unfortunately, found no trace of the child nor any clues that could help lead to her discovery. He knew Amberly through his girlfriend, Krista, with whom he had two children of his own. Amberly was the niece of his girlfriend’s brother’s partner.
Madison was quick to report a suspicious vehicle that he claimed to have seen parked outside Amberly’s Aunt’s home on the night Amberly went missing. Madison described the vehicle as a Dodge Durango, dark in shade, although he could not specify which color. The police interviewed nearby residents and neighbors but none of them had seen a car of that description on the night the child had vanished.
Early the following morning investigators resumed their search and found themselves following a morbid trail of breadcrumbs that lead them into the woods just 600 feet behind the mobile home Amberly had been staying in with her Aunt. A strand of long blonde hair was tangled in the spiny branch of a pine tree and fresh impressions in the dirt suggested that something had been dragged across the forest floor. A child’s sock was found snagged and left behind in a patch of vegetation. The officer’s stomachs likely churned with the looming and inevitable realization of what they were about to discover.
They discovered Amberly’s body relatively quickly. She was positioned on her back and it was clear that she had been murdered. There was a length of blue rope around her neck that indicated the cause of death was likely ligature strangulation. Her face was crimson and there was a sock on one of her feet to match the one that was caught in the brush along the way. A strand of black hair was found on her body and sent for testing. Someone had callously murdered her and cruelly disposed of her body in the woods, the question was, who?
The police searched Chris Madison’s residence. They found blood in various areas of the house, in the bathroom and on the walls. They found long blonde hair in the bathtub which appeared to have been ripped from the scalp and a pair of denim jeans saturated in red. There was blood on his mattress and in and around his bed. Evidence was collected and bagged and sent for testing.
Madison was arrested on March 4th in connection with the murder as well as being in possession of a controlled substance. More of the same blue rope that was found tied around Amberly’s neck was also found in the suspect’s home. His girlfriend confirmed that she had seen the same type of rope around the house and police found more of it in the backyard, including a knife that had been bound with the same blue rope. After his arrest details of his bondage fetish soon began to hit the headlines. Paraphernalia connected to his interest in bondage was found in his home.
Further details of the crime have yet to be publically released at this early stage in the case and investigators have not yet commented on a motive.
The evidence collected from the scene is currently being tested and the suspect is being held without bond at the DeKalb county jail.
Christopher Madison and his girlfriend, Krista, maintained a shared Facebook profile featuring pictures of them with their children. The profile states that the two met in April of 2013. Amberly was also on social media. She made an instragram post on the day that she was murdered- a black and white selfie with a dog filter over her face, captioned: “So I may go to the mall today and get some new clothes”. In the photo she’s sitting in the passenger seat of a car, smiling.
Her profile reads: “Amberly Alexis Barnett. Life is so fragile”.
A go-fund-me page was set up to cover funeral costs here. The campaign greatly exceeded its goal of $2000 in less than 20 days.
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