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Convicted killer charged in 1996 death of Goldsboro teen

Posted November 14, 2014

Jared Graybeal
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— A man already in prison for murder on Thursday confessed to stabbing a Goldsboro teenager to death 18 years ago, police said Friday.

Thomas Steele Dail, 50, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jared Graybeal.

A farmer found the partially clothed body of the 17-year-old Eastern Wayne High School student in a field on Louie Pollock Road, off U.S. Highway 70, in LaGrange on April 4, 1996. He had been stabbed several times in the abdomen and back.

The teen was last seen the night before outside Cafe Eldeweiss, on North Berkley Boulevard in Goldsboro, sitting in a car owned by Stephanie Fannin, a waitress at the restaurant, while waiting for a ride. When Fannin got off work that night, both Graybeal and the car were missing. The car was found about a block away from the restaurant with its engine running the following morning, shortly before Graybeal's body was found.

Authorities weren't able to produce enough evidence to make an arrest, but subsequent testing by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Center for Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis, a private lab in Greenville, and interviews with investigators from the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, the Goldsboro Police Department and the SBI helped them zero in on Dail as a prime suspect.

At the time of Graybeal's death, Dail, who previously lived in Goldsboro and Mount Olive, was under investigation for the Nov. 11, 1995, death of a state Division of Motor Vehicles examiner in Duplin County. He was arrested in that case on June 16, 1996, and convicted of murder on May 15, 1997.

He is serving a life sentence at Sampson Correctional Institution.

Graybeal's death received national attention and was featured on the website, Fallen Wall. There, it drew the attention of New York private investigator and Goldsboro native, Suzanne Adams, who also worked on the case.

“This has been an extremely challenging case, but the combined relentless efforts of the Sheriff’s Office, Goldsboro Police Department and the NCSBI brought this case to its finality,” Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill said in a statement.

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  • Pam Price Nov 14, 2014
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    What a senseless murder. I hope this will bring the family a tad bit of closure. May Jared rest in peace....

  • Linda Kerns Kellogg Nov 14, 2014
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    That's a long time for the victim's family to have to wait for answers. I'm glad this may put some closure to his sad death. Poor kid.

  • cnagy Nov 14, 2014

    For me feelings of confusion (why it happen), sadness, and relief surround Jared's death.
    Today I choose to remember Jared as the friend he was.

  • Wake1 Nov 14, 2014

    Dail should be executed.

  • Pepe Silvia Nov 14, 2014

    While it won't bring Jared back, and I'm sure it reopens some wounds, I hope this helps bring his family some closure.