Local News

Sheriff: Body found in woods is teen who went missing after crash

Posted March 18
Updated March 19

— 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.


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  • Amanda Alston Mar 20, 10:52 a.m.
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    John, as I said in my response to her... Kudos for stepping in and doing what you felt you had to do for YOUR child! No one knows if your actions may have kept your child from being in the crowd with them, at the party, or even in the car. No one with a heart wishes death on anyone, especially a child.... and I know the young man who was in the car with her that was able to make it to the hospital.

  • Amanda Alston Mar 20, 9:37 a.m.
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    How can you shame a parent for making a decision about their child? From all I have read about her before this incident happened, she tormented the neighborhood. The parent that removed their child from their group may have saved their child's life. Their child could have been in the car. I know the young man who was in this girl's back seat, left seriously injured while she and her passenger ran off. Even with that, I am not happy with the outcome. No parent should have to bury their child for any reason. An no person should try to shame a parent for making what they feel are good decisions about their child... especially if it could have kept them out of situations like this!!

  • John Archer Mar 20, 8:38 a.m.
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    I know full well these parents have lost their daughter. I can't even imagine the depth of their pain. I am not putting down the other kids, or any of the group that Lauren hung out with. I'm trying to say to parents how much they need to tend to their teens and not just view them as almost adults who can be left to their own devices. I will be forever grateful that we were able to get our daughter straightened around, and I hope other parents can too. These are not BAD kids, just into the wrong activities. I don't want our community to lose any more.

  • Ed Ray Mar 20, 5:30 a.m.
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    Wow some of these comments and people call me heartless. It was said that witnesses that she was bleeding from the head very badly. A head injury is no joke, I was in a wreck about 4 years ago and hit my head and I walked away from the hospital did not even know where or who i was. They found me sitting in front of a house that I lived in when I was first moved out of my mom and dads house when I was like 20 or so. The only reason they had found me was because the people that lived there called the police and told that i walked into there house. Luckily the woman was a nurse and knew something was not right. I mean I was still in my hospital gown and had my head bandaged, so she sat me down and just waited with me on the front porch. Head injuries make you do some stupid stuff like walking away from a car wreck.

  • Pamela Anderson Mar 19, 11:11 p.m.
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    People please read the whole article and think before you ask dumb questions. These parents have lost their daughter so we need to show respect and pray for this family. If you read all the information you will find the answers to your questions.
    To the gentleman that stated that they talked to their daughter about hanging with this crowd and finally got her to not hang out with this group. Shame on you. You act like they we hard core gangsters or hard core criminals. There was no reason whatsoever to say what you did in your post. How would you feel if you were in their shoes and someone posted your comment about your daughter? Shame, shame, shame on you.

  • Clarence Drumgoole Mar 19, 7:54 p.m.
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    ??????????????? comments ??????????????

  • Andrew Rose Mar 19, 7:34 p.m.
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    Prayers for her family. I was hoping she just had freaked out and left the scene from fear. Terrible to see someone so young be gone so soon

  • Shane Siliga Mar 19, 6:17 p.m.
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    Janet, you're not getting what I'm saying. Your original questions will be and have been answered in due time. I was simply pointing out that all your questions are exactly what they've been trying to figure out from last night to now. I think they know what they're doing at WRAL. Do you think the family is watching the news? They're being informed directly from law enforcement which in turn is reported.
    With all that being said, your first post was invalid as the person writing the article has the same questions and is waiting for the answers to update this article.
    How do you think this family is being informed about their loved one? Not here... Get over yourself. [Refresh]

  • Lauren Puckett Mar 19, 6:08 p.m.
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    Praying for her family ... I am sure teen was in shock after accident .. i just wonder why witness let her walk away .. if you see blood on her head.. it very serious... she dont mean to run away.. it unconscious... I wish witness stop her and probably save her life from losing lot of blood.. it sad to see this happened..

  • John Archer Mar 19, 4:02 p.m.
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    For the parents' sake I hope they are correct. But like I said, my daughter used to hang out with her and that crowd, and it was front and center, 24/7. Another friend said there had been social media postings earlier in the evening about a party they were all at. My message is still the same regardless, take care of your kids, no matter what they say and do. Teens are like toddlers with a larger vocabulary. They are still just as vulnerable, so don't let the angst get to you and skew your love.