Sheriff: Body found in woods is teen who went missing after crash
Posted March 18
Updated March 19
Raleigh, N.C. — According to officials with the Wake County Sheriff's Office, a body found Sunday in a wooded area has been identified as a 17-year-old female who went missing Friday after a car crash.
Lauren Maria Jenkins was reported missing after she was involved in a car accident at the intersection of Leesville Road and O'Neal Road. Authorities said Jenkins failed to yield as she attempted to make a left turn and pulled out in front of another car.
Jenkins was last seen leaving the scene on foot, and her family had not heard from her after the incident.
On Sunday, officials found her body in a wooded area near Wood Lawn Drive and the Springdale Estates neighborhood.
According to reports, sheriff's deputies and officers were searching the area around 7 a.m. when a member of the K-9 unit picked up the teen's scent.
Officials saw a neighbor pointing towards the woods, where he had also located the body.
"I've lived here my whole life and we've never had anything like this happen," said neighbor Beverly Bahin, who came home from church and heard the news.
Friends who have known Jenkins since middle school said they knew something was wrong when she couldn't be located, but they thought she would be found alive.
"I honestly thought that she was in a friend's house kind of thing and she just needed like a couple days maybe just to calm down," said friend Savannah Beale. "But then I was like she's really close with her brother so something is really up if she hasn't told her brother what's going on. So, I knew something bad happened."
Jenkins was a student at Leesville Road High School and Wake County schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten said counselors will be available for students Monday.
"My stomach dropped. I didn't really know how to feel. Like, one of my friends died. She's just gone and I'll never see her again. It's just like a disturbing feeling," said Beale.
The body was transported to the Medical Examiners Office to determine cause of death. The incident is under investigation.
Anyone with information should contact the Wake County Sheriff's Office at 919-856-6911.