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Body found could be that of missing Hope Mills teen

Posted April 3
Updated April 5

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— Authorities believe a female's body found in the South River on Wednesday is that of Danielle Locklear, a 15-year-old who went missing in early March, according to a source close the investigation.

The body has been sent to the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office for a positive identification, and Hope Mills police have spoken to Locklear's family. It could be 2-3 days before police receive a positive identification, Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo said.

Cumberland County and Sampson County sheriff’s deputies went to South River at about 6 p.m. Wednesday, after the body was found near the South Gray Street bridge near Autryville, along the Cumberland-Sampson line.

No other information about the discovery of the body was released Thursday.

Locklear left her grandparents’ home on Trencholm Lane in the Fox Meadow/Brook Ridge subdivisions on March 11 to visit a friend. She never arrived, and her grandfather contacted police the following day.

Court documents obtained Thursday by The Fayetteville Observer, a media partner with WRAL News, also shed some light on the investigation. According to a March 26 affadavit, a witness told police that Locklear was at a creek off Legion Road when she was attacked by several people and hurt with a "sharp object causing injury and possibly death." Acciardo said the witness' account was investigated and turned out to be unfounded.

Police said in the affadavit that the teen's social media accounts and cellphone were not used since her disappearance.

On Thursday, distraught family members comforted each other outside the home where Locklear lived with her grandparents. They declined to comment.

At South View High School, where Locklear is a freshman, administrators sent in a crisis team the moment they learned the body could be their missing student.

"We are deeply moved by the whole situation," Cumberland County schools Superintendent Frank Till Jr. said. "We, like everybody, (were) hoping for a positive result, and I guess we will hope for that positive result until we find that it's not."

Few clues had surfaced since Locklear’s disappearance despite the efforts of investigators and hundreds of volunteers who searched for her body on March 22.

One of Locklear's neighbors, Pervin Andrews, is among many in the community hoping for good news since Locklear went missing. Thursday's update was not what he wanted to hear.

"My heart kind of dropped," he said. "I just feel sorry for the parents. It makes you very cautious, very overprotective, because you never want that to happen to your child."

Neighbor Mekka Tucker said she's praying that Locklear is still alive.

"It was devastating to know someone my daughter's age has become missing," she said. "My daughter, she cannot ride the bus anymore. If she does, we take her to the bus stop. When she comes home from school, I'm outside watching her or we pick her up."

Anyone with information about Locklear’s disappearance should call the Hope Mills Police Department at 910-425-4103 or the FBI in Charlotte at 704-672-6100.

58 Comments

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  • Alexia Apr 4, 2:57 p.m.

    "According to an affadavit, a witness told police that Locklear was at a creek off Legion Road... View More

    — Posted by King of Ignorance

    Yeah, I was wondering why those folks did not immediately contact the police and report who did the attacking. Even the witnesses don't seem to be so upstanding.

  • scmz3 Apr 4, 12:21 p.m.

    Just over two years ago my son went missing in Richmond. For three torturing weeks we searched until his body was found in the canal. My heart goes out to the parents of Danielle. I know what is going through their minds. To their family and friends, please reach out and help them though this hard time.. An e-mail, a text, message on facebook. Every bit of love sent to them really goes a long way.

  • btneast Apr 4, 11:03 a.m.

    who spotted the body if it was in a bag closed up with rocks in it? how would you see that at the bottom of a river?

    Rivers are not all that deep, it just depends on where in the river you are. Bodies that have been submerged will eventually float due to decomposition gases. Possible the ballast rocks were not heavy enough to offset.

  • scubagirl2 Apr 4, 10:58 a.m.

    IF the killers turn out to be juveniles, I all for sentencing them as adults! This rampant killing has got to stop and one reason it continues is the law has no teeth.

  • cmpbjam45 Apr 4, 10:17 a.m.

    They must be pretty sure it is her to report this to the media just have to wait on confirmation sad thing

  • SoylentGreenIsPeople! Apr 4, 8:00 a.m.

    Let's hope the truth comes out.

  • peace2u Apr 3, 7:29 p.m.

    What a sick world we live in that someone would want to harm this beautiful young girl!!

  • Strawberry Letter 23 Beth Wilson Apr 3, 6:57 p.m.

    Sad, sad thing. Will be interesting to see the animals that are brought in for this. Of... View More

    — Posted by pappy1

    I agree. I'm sure they'll be underage and get a slap on the wrist.

  • pappy1 Apr 3, 6:45 p.m.

    Sad, sad thing. Will be interesting to see the animals that are brought in for this. Of course, they'll probably be "juveniles" and remanded to kiddie court.

  • wayneboyd Apr 3, 6:39 p.m.

    What is wrong with people, even the wild animals are putting us to shame. They are not this cruel to one another.

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