Authorities search for clues to Locklear's disappearance
Posted April 4
Updated April 6
Hope Mills, N.C. — As the family of Danielle Locklear awaits word about whether it was her body found Wednesday in the South River, Cumberland County sheriff's deputies talked to two people who might provide clues to what happened to the missing Hope Mills teen.
Sources close to the investigation said deputies searched two homes Friday – one off N.C. Highway 210 and another on Cade Hill Road – for clues to her disappearance.
Those sources said deputies talked to people of interest at both places and found evidence in the first home that relates to the case. The sources, however, would not specify what that evidence is.
Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler said Friday that it was one of his deputies who discovered the body near Autryville around 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"He noticed something that was unusual and – being a deputy, as he is, and investigator – he stopped and he wasn't sure," Butler said. "He said he called one of our deputies to bring binoculars so they could check it out, and when the deputy got there, they were able to determine it was a body."
The body has been sent to the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for a positive identification, and Hope Mills police have spoken to Locklear's family. It could be two to three days before police receive a positive identification, Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo said Thursday.
"The crime started in Hope Mills, and we don't know where the death took place, but we're assuming in that area," Butler said Friday. "That's the reason Hope Mills got the responsibility. We're going to be there to support them."
Sources close to the investigation say they are confident that the body is 15-year-old Locklear's, and they also told WRAL News that it appears that she died of asphyxiation.
Locklear left her grandparents' home on Trencholm Lane in the Fox Meadow/Brook Ridge subdivisions on March 11 to visit a friend. She never arrived, and her grandfather contacted police the following day.
Her family has asked for privacy and prayers.