Local News

Body buried in field identified as Lillington man

Posted July 22, 2010

— The Harnett County Sheriff's Office on Thursday released the identity of a man shot to death and buried in a field Lillington last weekend.

The state Chief Medical Examiner's Office identified the man as Christopher Lee Freelove, 24, of Lillington.

Investigators say that David Eugene Gates, 42, of 291 J.M. Wallace Lane, has confessed to shooting someone last Friday night and burying the body in a field near his home. Gates faces charges of first-degree murder and has been denied bond.

The case began Friday when people reported a suspicious man asking passing drivers for a ride along Black Lane, authorities said. Drivers told deputies that the man said his friend had been shot on Tim Currin Road.

Deputies didn't find anything immediately, but over the weekend, they identified the hitchhiker and developed a lead on the possible location of a shooting, authorities said. On Monday, investigators located the homeowner, Gates, and recovered Freelove's body.

Authorities said Thursday that they are still trying to locate the hitchhiker, who they want for questioning.


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  • scottyr74 Jul 23, 2010

    It's sad what happened. Dave doesn't have a criminal record, but the victim does, go figure. Maybe now, we'll have one less thug dealing crack to children, families, co-workers etc. He sold crack to Dave too, what a good friend. It's tragic, but one less drug dealer is great thing. Had the victim been sentenced to prison for all his crimes and not probation, maybe this wouldn't have happened. It was only a matter of time before the victim may have shot and killed somebody himself. Do an NCDOC inmate search and you will see what I mean. I know Dave quite well, he is a good natured guy, something is fishy with this Christopher Freelove AKA..C1. It would be nice if the hitch hiker came forward. What might he be trying to hide? Thoughts and prayers are out there for Dave and the victims family.

  • james18 Jul 22, 2010

    well good 1 criminal gone, so society dosen't have to deal with him again, and another locked up probably for a long time, my neighborhood just got better and safer already, hence I don''t even live 3 miles from where the body was found, so i'll be sleeping a little better knowing at least 2 are gone from the area!!

  • wcumom Jul 22, 2010

    I don't think most people are "implying" anything *onelove*,except maybe one more criminal we don't have to feed.

  • wcumom Jul 22, 2010

    June 2010•Christopher Lee Freelove, 24,of South A Street, Lillington, was arrested after he allegedly broke into The Jump Off at 123 E. Broad St., Dunn, and stole more than $1,000 worth of clothing. Mr. Freelove was charged with breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, injury to property, and resisting public officer. He was held at the Harnett County Jail under $30,000 bond.

  • OneLove Jul 22, 2010

    Agreed, GlassHalfFull. We all should know that just because Mr. Gates doesn't have a "record" doesn't mean he hasn't been involved with criminal activity. And just because Mr. Freelove was "well known to Law Enforcement" doesn't mean his actions warranted him being shot, killed, and buried in a field. I would think if he was acting in self-defense, he would have said that immediately. Charges of 1st degree murder and no bond = self defense? Unlikely.

  • Kandy007 Jul 22, 2010

    Yeah I am sure it was criminal activity, BUT if it was self defense why not just defend yourself and then call police and let them do there job. But he buried the guy...makes you wonder...I pray for family members of the deceased.

  • Glass Half Full Jul 22, 2010

    Freelove's record as an adult shows B&E and drugs mainly. I think as things unfold a connection to one or the other with Gates will come to light. If Gates had simply been defending himself or his property there would have been no need to bury Freelove in a field. There's bound to be more to the story!

  • wcumom Jul 22, 2010

    •Christopher Lee Freelove, 24, of South A Street, Lillington, was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was held at the Harnett County Jail under $100,000 bond.

    >>>This happened in Jan. 2010.I have to wonder if this young man was trying the same tactics once again.

  • OneLove Jul 22, 2010

    Well, if it was self defense or something that the "Well-known to Law Enforcement" Mr. Freelove had done criminally, Mr. Gates would have no reason to bury him in a shallow grave in a field. Better wait for details....

  • rescuefan Jul 22, 2010

    Well, you'd think if the guy was just defending himself or his property, he wouldn't go to the effort to bury the body.