Friends, family gather to honor Danielle Locklear
Posted March 11, 2016
Sampson County, N.C. — A prayerful vigil was held Friday evening in Sampson County to honor the life of Danielle Locklear, a 15-year-old who was killed in Hope Mills on March 11, 2014.
Each year since her death, friends and family gather not only to remember Locklear, but to also raise awareness about teen domestic violence.
“She was living with me and I felt like I was her protector, and I feel like I let her down,” said Lockler’s grandmother, Darlene Heegal. “Just one instant your eye is off her, next minute she’s gone.”
Locklear's ex-boyfriend JeMichael Malloy confessed to killing the teen and dumping her body in the South River in Cumberland County. Another teen, Dominic Lock, is also serving time for helping Malloy dispose of Locklear's body.
“We never thought to ask a teenager, ‘Is someone hurting you? Is your boyfriend being mean to you?’ We didn’t think to ask those questions,” said Chena Papa, Locklear’s aunt.
Two years later, Locklear’s family and friends don't want to dwell on what happened and what could have been—they prefer to remember the young woman who brought joy to their lives and work to make sure her death saves others.
“We have domestic violence programs out there twice a month to help make other young people in the community aware,” said Chena Simmons, Locklear's aunt.
Locklear’s family told WRAL News that they are currently working with prosecutors on a possible plea deal for Malloy.
Malloy and Lock remain in police custody at the Cumberland County Jail.