Local News

Authorities Expand Search For UNCW Murder Suspect; Victim Had Sought Protective Order

Posted June 7, 2004

— Investigators expanded their search Sunday for a former University of North Carolina at Wilmington student accused of killing his former girlfriend nearly a week after allegations of domestic violence.

John Peck, 28, of Wilmington, was charged Saturday with first-degree murder by the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office in the shooting death of Christen Marie Naujoks, 22.

Deputies found Naujoks lying on the sidewalk of her apartment complex with gunshot wounds. Witnesses said a woman was banging on doors Friday night as a man chased her with a rifle.

Authorities said Peck may be armed with an assault rifle and should be considered dangerous. He has not been since the shooting around 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Naujoks had been frightened enough of Peck that she had taken out a restraining order against him in April, after his arrest on charges of stalking her and making harassing phone calls to her.

Peck had pleaded guilty in November 2001 to a misdemeanor count of assault on a female and two felony counts of crimes against nature.

He pleaded guilty to the charges after initially being accused of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense by a girlfriend who claimed he raped her and threatened her with a handgun.

University officials have said Peck failed to disclose his previous criminal convictions on his application to the university. He since has been expelled.

The article stemmed from the May 5 slaying of Jessica Lee Faulkner, 19, of Cary, in her dorm. A fellow UNCW student, Curtis Dixon, 21, of Charlotte, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and first-degree kidnapping.

University officials have said Dixon -- like Peck - also had failed to tell the university about an earlier misdemeanor larceny conviction.

In a complaint seeking a protective order against Peck, Naujoks said Peck left 17 obscene messages on her answering machine on March 5.

Peck recently told the Wilmington newspaper he was complying with the court order to stay away from Naujoks.

"It's like I've been hit with a ton of bricks," he told the

Star-News.

The paper began looking into Peck after a call from Holly Naujoks of Solon, Ohio, who was prompted by Faulkner's death and by her daughter's alleged harassment by Peck, editor Allen Parsons said Sunday.

"She approached us about her concern," Parsons said. "Her daughter had been tormented at the school, and she felt they hadn't done enough to make it safer for her daughter."

Naujoks' mother called Parsons two nights before the story was to run, asking that publication be delayed until after a hearing this Wednesday on the pending charges. She also wanted the story to focus on her daughter's safety concerns, Parsons said.

Parsons said a reporter had planned to pursue that angle in a further story. But he also said Holly Naujoks could not explain why a news article might make things worse since her daughter and Peck already were acquainted and Peck knew she had filed charges against him.

The mother called the article's author on Friday, shortly after the slaying, and said her daughter had been killed.

Parsons said he did not think the newspaper's article contributed to Naujoks' slaying, but added, "I am heartbroken at the loss of the family."

Holly Naujoks did not return a call to her home on Sunday.

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