Father believes killer freed - 5-year hunt ends in frustration

By Ann Dickerson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 22, 2005

For more than five years, Billy Inman of Woodstock has had one goal in life find the man who killed his son.

Sixteen-year-old Dustin Inman died in June 2000 when a car allegedly driven by Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant, plowed into the Inmans' Grand Am at a traffic light in Ellijay. The wreck put Billy Inman and his wife, Kathy, in the hospital for weeks. Kathy Inman suffered spinal injuries and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

A poster on Billy Inman's truck shows Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, who he is sure killed his son, Dustin Inman.

The wreck in June 2000 put Kathy Inman in a wheelchair, injured her husband, Billy, and killed their son, Dustin.

Harrell-Gonzalez was taken to a hospital in Dalton but disappeared before he was treated (he was not accompanied by a police officer). He remained at large for five years, but Inman never stopped trying to find him.

Three weeks ago, Inman thought he had succeeded. He heard that Harrell-Gonzalez's father was living in Birmingham. He telephoned the Birmingham Police Department and asked them to check an address to see if his information was correct. The officer found Harrell-Gonzalez and arrested him Sept. 1 on the charge of being a fugitive from justice.

Sgt. Cory Hardiman of the Birmingham Police Department said Harrell-Gonzalez surrendered quietly.

But a few days ago, Inman, 42, a salesman-driver for Tip Top Foods, received a telephone call from a friend in Birmingham who had been following the case for him. Instead of being extradited to Gilmer County this week, as expected, Harrell-Gonzalez was released Sept. 15.

"I just feel so ticked off and helpless," said Inman, who had been elated by the news of Harrell-Gonzalez's capture. "I thought we could turn the page and get on with our lives. Now I don't know what to do. It just doesn't seem like there is any right or wrong anymore."

Steve Emmett, a special agent and spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Atlanta office, said Gonzalez was released because he was able to prove he was the brother of the accused....

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