Local News

Slain Mother Laid To Rest; Case Draws National Attention

Posted November 10, 2006
Updated December 27, 2006

— Family members and friends Thursday gathered for the funeral of a young mother who was found dead in her Raleigh home.

Flowers draped the casket and the song "Isn't She Lovely" played during the service. But friends of Michelle Young said it did not do their friend justice.

"What I remember mostly about Michelle is that her smile just lit up the room," said friend Laura Studdard. "She was so nice, and she was so smart and so pretty -- it's just so sad to me, right now."

The 29-year-old mother, who was four months pregnant with her second child -- a boy -- was found face-down in her bedroom last Friday afternoon. Her 2-year-old daughter was by her mother's side, unharmed, authorities said.

She died from blunt-force trauma, according to preliminary autopsy reports. Authorities said there were no signs of forced entry into the home.

Media Attention Intensifies

As investigators continue to collect evidence and conduct interviews, the focus of the case has expanded beyond Raleigh and has attracted national media attention, headlining Wednesday and Thursday nights' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" on Fox News.

"Anytime a child is involved, the media picks up on it quicker," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. "It's a terrible crime."

In addition to Fox News, the CBS investigative news magazine "48 Hours" and Court TV have expressed interest in the case.

"It's a mystery. That is what's so gripping about it," Van Susteren told WRAL Thursday evening. "People are supposed to be safe in their homes, but they're not, as demonstrated by this woman." (Watch Full Interview)

Investigators said Young had been at home with friends until about 10:30 p.m. the night before her body was found. Her husband, Jason Young, told authorities he was out of town on business when his sister-in-law, Meredith Fisher, found his wife's body.

Fisher told authorities she had received a call from Jason Young asking her to go to his house to pick up something. Authorities said it was a fax.

Authorities have collected evidence and conducted interviews, but have not said whether they have any suspects in the case.

On Wednesday, Jason Young responded to a court order that he give fingerprint evidence to the City County Bureau of Identification. A Wake County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said Wednesday evening, however, that he had not been identified as a suspect.

Van Susteren said that besides the mystery and intrigue surrounding the case, putting it on a national stage could help local law enforcement.

"Maybe someone saw something. Maybe someone has a tip, so we put the word out," she said.

Harrison has said the local media have helped get witnesses to come forward or call in tips about the case. But he cautions that he and his investigators must choose their words carefully when talking with the media.

"We're careful and try not to say anything or give any evidence away that would hurt us down the road," Harrison said.
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