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Charlotte Area

Search Warrants Give New Details In Bianca Tanner Homicide Investigation

Robert Lahser
Charlotte Observer

A search warrant released Monday said the 3-year-old son of missing teacher Bianca Tanner told police that Tanner’s boyfriend had struck her with a belt and “hurt mommy in the face.”

Charlotte Mecklenburg police obtained the warrant on Tuesday to search the apartment of Angelo Smith, who reported Tanner missing eight days ago. Police said Smith, who had dated Tanner since last fall, had reportedly argued with Tanner before she left his apartment.

CMPD on Thursday upgraded the search to a homicide investigation. Police have not named any suspects and no charges have been filed.

During an interview with investigators, Tanner’s son said, “Mommy got a spanking with the belt. Angelo kicked mommy’s butt and made her cry,” according to the warrant. The boy also said: “Angelo is mean to mommy and hurt mommy in the face.”

The warrant gives new details about the night Tanner, 31, reportedly went missing.

Smith said he received a text message around 11:46 p.m. on June 7 while the two were at Smith’s Druid Circle apartment just north of uptown. Smith reported her disappearance at 12:37 on June 8.

Smith said the text caused a “small argument.” Smith said Tanner, who he said was intoxicated, left the apartment carrying a bag.

Smith voluntarily met with police and gave police consent to search his cell phone. Before giving consent, the warrant says, Smith began deleting information from the phone. Police are not sure what information was deleted.

During the investigation, police said a records check showed an outstanding warrant for domestic battery in Arkansas. In that case, the warrant says, Smith’s girlfriend at the time reported he “threw her onto the bed and covered her face, both mouth and nose, with his hand, smothering her.”

Family members and friends of Tanner joined police Sunday to canvas the neighborhood surrounding Smith’s apartment where she was last seen.

In an earlier search on Thursday, officers searched homes, a car and a creek near uptown.

Investigators have expanded the search as far as Virginia and have enlisted the help of police in Greensboro, where Tanner lived before moving to Charlotte last month.

Charlotte police Chief Rodney Monroe said there are inconsistencies in witness statements.

“Some of those we have interviewed, we do not believe they have been forthcoming with us,” Monroe said last week. “We just don’t feel that this is a simple missing persons case.”

The warrant said that on June 10, Tanner’s ex-husband reported that there had been no activity on Tanner’s debit card or cell phone or social media activity since her disappearance.