BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. — Two suspects face first-degree murder charges in the death of a man who was stabbed to death and placed in the truck of a car. Meanwhile, the victim's family is trying to make sense of why he died.
Family members said Samuel Smith packed a lot into his 75 years of life. He was the first African-American firefighter in a small New York town, a notary public, a deacon at his church and a sailor in the Navy.
Smith was born in Bladen County and spent his last 20 years living in a house right next door to the one where he grew up.
"He worked every day of his life that I know, sometimes two jobs to take care of my mom, my older brothers and sisters and myself," said Sandra Smith-Jones, Smith's daughter.
Smith achieved a lot, but his family said he was most proud of his children's success. All eight of his children graduated high school and went to college.
"Someone who was kind, always giving and always there for other people. He had a big family, but it was never, never a reason he could stay back from giving someone else something," Smith-Jones said.
Smith-Jones said it is hard dealing with the fact that her father is gone.
"It's a lot easier to accept your parent or loved one's death when it's natural, but when it's something like this, it is utterly devastating," she said. "You could not imagine why someone would steal the life of a person like my father."
Investigators say Belinda Moore and Brian McArn stabbed Smith to death, stuffed him in a suitcase, put it in the trunk of his car then stole the vehicle. Authorities found Smith's body after pulling over the couple during a traffic stop. Investigators said they found a bloody knife as evidence inside Moore's apartment.