Local News

Investigator: 911 call led to Shaw student's remains

Posted February 25, 2016 12:04 p.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2016 5:22 p.m. EST

— Testimony continued Thursday as investigators took the jury back 19 years in the trial of Edwin Christopher Lawing, a Concord man charged in the 1996 murder of a Shaw University student.

Lacoy McQueen, 20, was reported missing May 17, 1996, when she never returned to her dorm room after she told her roommate she was meeting Lawing at North Carolina State University's Bell Tower. A construction crew discovered her remains off U.S. Highway 1 near Kittrell nine months later.

On Thursday, former Vance County Sheriff’s Office investigator Robert Catlett said he remembered when his team received a call from a man who found a skull in the woods. When investigators arrived, they found the skull, along with other bones and pieces of clothing.

"I was dispatched by 911 that someone has possibly found some human remains in the woods," Catlett said. "I saw bones. I saw a skull that appeared to be human to me. It appeared to have been there for a while."

Former Vance County Sheriff's Office detective Lyles also responded to the scene.

"The body had decomposed into the ground, and there were clothes scattered around the area," he told the jury.

The remains were ultimately connected to McQueen through dental records.

Dr. Keith Lehman, a medical examiner, took the stand and testified that due to decomposition McQueen's cause of death was undetermined, but the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

On Thursday afternoon, Lawing's former roommate, Jason Queen said their dorm room at N.C. State was a revolving door of sexual partners, and it was getting difficult for Lawing to juggle.

"He was somebody who tried to control himself, but he kept it bottled up and it was getting to him," Queen said.

McQueen's college roommate and friends testified earlier in the week and said McQueen was pregnant, and that she and Lawing had been arguing about the pregnancy when she disappeared.

Initially, Lawing denied seeing McQueen the day she disappeared, but then he admitted to meeting her to discuss the pregnancy.

Lawing told police McQueen stormed off and got into a car with two men he did not know.

Lawing, an N.C. State student in the mid-1990s, was initially arrested in the case, but prosecutors dismissed a murder charge against him because of a lack of evidence.

He was charged again in December 2014 after investigators who refused to give up on the case used scientific tests not available in the 1990s to once again connect him to the murder.