Chapel Hill, N.C. — Police asked for help Saturday identifying a man in surveillance photos whom they want to question in connection with the killing of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Student Body President Eve Carson.
At a news conference Saturday morning, Chapel Hill police spokesman Lt. Kevin Gunter called the man a suspect.
Police Chief Brian Curran described the photos as the “biggest break” in the case, so far.
Two photos show a black man who appears to be in his late teens or early 20s. They were taken by a surveillance camera at an automated-teller machine, where the man used Carson's ATM card.
He is driving a sport utility vehicle with a roof rack that might have been Carson's, police said. But Curran emphasized investigators did not definitively know if the vehicle belonged to the UNC senior.
A third photograph shows a ball cap the suspect was thought to be wearing. It appeared to have a vintage Houston Astros logo on the front.
Curran did not disclose when and where the photographs were taken or if the suspect managed to withdraw any money from the machine.
“I don't want to release what time they were taken, at this point," he said. "These are questions we would ask in the interrogation."
Officers began circulating the photos to law enforcement agencies around noon Friday.
"Our goal with that was for our investigative units to talk up their confidential informants and really beat the bushes to identify this person," Curran said.
Investigators still have no motive in the case and urged the public to call police at 919-968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515 if they think they have information that might help.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Carson's death.
Police continued to ask anyone who saw Carson's blue 2005 Toyota Highlander on Wednesday or Thursday to call them. The Highlander's license plate was AIV-6690.
Officers believe the killer, at some point, had access to her SUV. It was found Thursday afternoon at North and Hillsborough streets, about a mile from the crime scene.
Carson’s body was discovered Wednesday morning on Hillcrest Circle, about a half-mile from campus.
A stolen-vehicle report said Carson had been shot at least once in the right temple. Police described the weapon as a handgun.
Two callers to 911 reported hearing several gun shots around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, and one heard "a female scream."
Carson, 22, was last seen at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, when she stayed behind at her apartment to study while her roommates went out for the night, Curran said. He said Saturday she mentioned to her roommates that she might need to print some papers that night.
There were no signs of forced entry to Carson’s apartment, but Curran said her keys and wallet had yet to be found. There was also no indication Carson was sexually assaulted.
Carson’s death continued to bring grief Saturday to the UNC campus. Some students with whom WRAL spoke with said they hope the suspect is caught soon.
“I don't want it to happen to anybody else,” UNC student Anna Brown said. “(The slaying) makes me very worried.”
Carson, a pre-med major studying political science and biology, was active in leadership and service roles. As a Morehead-Cain scholar, she spent her summers volunteering and working overseas in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana.
Her funeral was set for 3 p.m. Sunday at the First United Methodist Church in her hometown of Athens. Georgia.