Goldsboro, N.C. — Goldsboro police are now investigating disappearance of a teenager who's been missing for nearly two weeks as a homicide and are looking for a suspect in connection with the case.
Sgt. Dwayne Dean told reporters Friday evening that investigators have issued an arrest warrant on an open count of murder for Leonard Eugene Joyner in the case of Kennedy "Little Ken" Fitzgerald McLaurin Jr.
McLaurin was kidnapped Sept. 9 from the 700 block of Bain Street in the Woodcrest Housing Community and was last seen being forced in a 1990s blue-gray, four-door Oldsmobile with faded paint, police have said.
"The police department has identified all subjects involved in this case, and we can assure the public that this is not gang-related nor was it random," Dean said.
He added that police are still interviewing people of interest and that more suspects are possible.
He would not comment on a motive.
Joyner, 21, of 104 Cotton Field Drive in Goldsboro, has black hair, brown eyes, stands about 6 feet tall and weighs about 150 pounds. He has a tattoo, "Joyner," on his right forearm, and he frequents the Hickory Hills area of Goldsboro, Dean said.
Anyone who knows Joyner's whereabouts is urged to call 911 or a local law enforcement agency.
Meanwhile Friday, police investigators and agents with the State Bureau of Investigation spent most of the day near Carmack Road in Seven Springs, a rural area about a half-hour southeast of Goldsboro, where Dean said they found physical evidence related to the case.
He would not say what that evidence was or whether it could lead police to McLaurin.
He urged the public to call the police department's 24-hour tip line at 919-580-4243 if they have any information about McLaurin's disappearance.
He stands about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes, pierced ears and a tattoo of the initial K on his left hand.
"We have a 16-year-old young man who has not been located," Dean said. "The family is wanting closure. We want closure, and we will continue on until we can get that closure for the family."
April Hobbs-Cox, speaking on behalf of McLaurin's family, thanked police and the public for their support in keeping the case in the public eye.
"Thank you all for your prayers and support in helping locate Ken and bring him home," Hobbs-Cox said. "(The family asks) that you continue to keep them in prayer and continue to keep them lifted up."
In an interview earlier Friday with WRAL News, the teen's father, Ken McLaurin Sr., said not knowing where his son is, coupled with rumors about the case, has taken a toll on him and the family.
"There have been different rumors," he said. "My worst-case scenario is (that) I hope he's lying in a hospital somewhere alive. My best scenario is (that) he comes walking on his own two feet through the door."