RAEFORD — Just about everyone in Hoke County was at the J.W. Turlington School at 3 p.m. Monday. At that hour, the funeral was held for 5-year-old Brittany Locklear, who was kidnapped from her bus stop last week.
More than 4,000 people remembered Brittany Sunday night at a wake for the young girl. Her family says she was a girl like any other, who loved McDonald's and Pocahontas, and a girl like no other with a special smile and a loving heart.
Investigators are working hard to find the man they believe kidnapped, raped and killed Brittany Locklear. The young girl was abducted last Wednesday by a man witnesses said was driving a brown pick-up truck.
Detectives have spent six hours questioning a man driving a brown pick-up truck about a quarter of a mile from where Brittany was taken. The driver's truck was also examined, and then he was released.
The discovery of Brittany's body in a drainage pipe both saddened and worried the county, especially parents of young children. Many said they would be more vigilant about their youngsters' whereabouts until the murderer is caught.
Anne Williamson, herself the mother of a 5-year-old, characterized the murder as "heartbreaking."
Hoke Sheriff Wayne Byrd says he wants to conduct the investigation in a very careful manner, "dotting the i's and crossing the t's," he said, so that any eventual conviction could not be overturned on a technicality.
Byrd says many leads have come in, and his staff will follow up on all of them. Polygraph tests will be administered to many people, according to Byrd, probably beginning with family members, but he cautioned that no one should read any special meaning into the order in which the tests are held.
Brittany's mother, Connie Chavis, said that while the sheriff has not spoken to her about polygraph testing, she is ready to undergo it without reservations. She said she has spoken with the FBI, SBI and local police, telling everything she knows about the circumstances of her daughter's abduction and murder.
And Byrd underscored his warning not to read any particular meaning into the testing. "No family member is anymore of a suspect than anyone else," he said.
Anyone with information pertaining to Brittany's murder is asked to call the hotline at 1-800-496-3803.