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Man accused of strangling little girl to death helped cops look for her, said he ‘already checked’ woods where she was later found: Court

An Alabama man accused of killing an 11-year-old girl apparently joined the search team and helped look for her after she was reported missing.

Al.com reports that Christopher Madison, currently behind bars in DeKalb County, pretended to search for 11-year-old Amberly Barnett, according to testimony by Investigator Davis during a preliminary hearing on Monday at the DeKalb County District Court. Madison is charged with capital murder in connection with the girl’s death.

Amberly, originally from Georgia, was living with her aunt in a home off of County Rd 822 in Collinsville, when she disappeared earlier this month. Amberly’s mother, Jonie Barnett, had recently moved back to Cedartown, Georgia, to find a new home for her children. She left Amberly and her brother behind so they could finish out the school year in Alabama.

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On March 1, Amberly stayed home while her aunt went shopping. The aunt called 911 when she returned home to find Amberly missing, prompting an AMBER Alert after Madison, who reportedly lived next door, told police he saw a Dodge Durango pull up in the girl’s driveway. Dekalb County PIO, Tyler Pruitt, told CrimeOnline that authorities had no confirmation of the SUV, aside from Madison reporting it.

On March 2, authorities found the young girl behind her family’s property, deceased with a blue rope tied around her neck.

Jonie and Amberly Barnett [Facebook]
As authorities searched the woods, Madison joined in, according to Davis, and said he had already checked the wooded area behind Amberly’s home and didn’t find anything. Davis said it was dark at the time and deputies couldn’t locate her body that night. During the early morning hours of March 2, at around 6:30 a.m., police found Amberly in the area Madison claimed to have checked.

Davis said Amberly’s body appeared to be dragged down a path. Close to the path, authorities found a strand of blond hair and a sock. When Amberly was found, she had on only one sock. Davis said investigators found evidence inside Madison’s home, including a bloody pair of jeans, and blood on his mattress, walls, bed frame, in the kitchen sink, and on a paper towel.

Further, Davis testified that Madison, who reportedly had an interest in bondage, had a blue rope at his home the day before Amberly was killed, according to his girlfriend. A portion of the blue rope was found wound around a knife that authorities located in the suspect’s back yard.

Christopher Madison [Photo: Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office]
Madison was reportedly into bondage, Davis testified. Madison’s girlfriend told investigators that a bolt and clamp found in his home was previously for his “interest in bondage.” Davis didn’t elaborate any further, and didn’t say whether or not Amberly was victim to the suspect’s reported bondage fetish.

Officials are currently performing forensic testing on the blood found inside Madison’s home. The results are pending.

Madison remains behind bars without bail. If convicted, he’ll face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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[Feature Photo: Amberly Barnett/Handout]