Sources close to the case of Charlotte teacher Bianca Tanner say her boyfriend confessed to killing her, but that Angelo Grayson Smith Jr only started talking after his fraternity brother told police where to find Bianca.
Police arrested Smith Thursday morning and charged him with murder after remains were found in Steele Creek.
Investigators began searching around midnight Thursday. The body was found around 4:30 a.m. in a wooded area on the 10400 block of Calico Crossing Lane near Lake Wylie, police said.
The body, which hasn't been identified, was sent to the state medical examiner's office.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said a "cooperating witness" tipped them to the possible location of the body around midnight.
Police sources tell WBTV they decided to talk again with some of Smith's friends who they suspected knew more about Bianca's disappearance. Wednesday afternoon when investigators took Smith to jail after arresting him for contributing to the delinquency of a minor - Smith was wearing a T-shirt with a fraternity's letters.
Sources tell WBTV that fraternity's member, who is also Smith's friend, eventually told the story of where Bianca Tanner's body was.
"Let me be clear," Monroe said, "At this point we only have remains."
The medical examiner will have to make the identification, Monroe said. Until that happens, CMPD still lists Tanner as missing.
Smith was booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail for first degree murder at 1:11 p.m. on Thursday.
He was flanked by media as he left CMPD headquarters and only said "I'm sorry" when asked what he'd like to say to Tanner's family.
About a month before the arrest, Bianca Tanner's family canvassed Druid Hill Circle where the couple shared an apartment in Charlotte. Thursday neighbors said they have been praying for her to return and are glad Smith isn't on the loose.
Tanner's sister, Cerise Richardson had always held out hope.
"This is the longest we've ever been apart that we're not talking so. It's hard," Richardson said Wednesday night.
Wednesday night family gathered with friends and people from the NC A&T community to pray for Bianca Tanner's safe return. They didn't want condolences, but condolences came pouring in through the Facebook page 'Find Missing Bianca Tanner' once police announced Thursday morning they found what they believed to be her remains.
A post from the family read, "Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. The family asks for privacy as they try to deal with this senseless tragedy. GOD is a healer and they stand firm in their beliefs that GOD will help them overcome this too!"
"My heart goes out to that family it really does and her son. All you can do is just pray for them that's all we can do pray for them," said Connie Jones, a neighbor.
Jones lives on Druid Hill Circle close to where Smith originally told police he last saw Tanner on June 7.
Jones said she thinks about Tanner's three-year-old boy.
"From my understanding he's seen his mom beaten and there's no telling what that little boy has witnessed. My heart goes out to the family."
Jones said Bianca Tanner was new to the area, she didn't know Tanner but met her family when she went missing.
"I'm glad that they captured him and he's going to be accountable for his actions," said Jones.
Smith had just bonded out of the Mecklenburg County jail on Wednesday evening after being arrested in Chicago by U.S. Marshals. He was arrested over the weekend for a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Investigators say Smith left Tanner's three-year-old son home alone the night she disappeared.
Detectives in Charlotte interviewed Smith for hours on Wednesday about his relationship with Tanner. He was then taken back to jail and was able to post his $20,000 bond on Wednesday night.
Police Chief Rodney Monroe said Smith was always a person of interest and had been misleading investigators for the past month.
Tanner's family talked with Smith while he was in prison to see if he would give them some answers.
After the meeting, the family told WBTV, "We're no closer today than we were the night she went missing, unfortunately and sadly!"
Thirty-one-year-old Tanner had recently moved to Charlotte with her son to work as a teacher. She was last seen June 7.
According to warrants, Smith told investigators that he received a text message that led to an argument between him and Tanner the night she disappeared. Tanner left the apartment intoxicated, carrying a bag with her, Smith said.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call detectives. There is a $5,000 reward for information that could solve this case.
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