Simpson-Deane, then 16 years old, was reported missing after her first period class ended at Cary High School on Sept. 19, 2000. Her remains were discovered at the bottom of an abandoned well in rural Nash County in 2002.
Ward, of 108 Polk St. in Cary, and Curtis, of 514 Reed St. in Cary, are both currently in prison serving time for other crimes. Ward is in the state Department of Corrections facility in Louisburg, N.C., and Curtis is in Sussex, Va., on arson charges.
Police said there was not one specific thing that they led to a break in the case.
"It's been a long road. There's been lots of information, lots of people to talk to and a lot of statements, talking to witnesses, following up on leads," said Lt. Barry Nickalson, of the Cary Police Department.
Authorities also said they never gave up on the case.
"When we found Amanda in March of 2002, we promised her family that wewould do everything possible to bring this case to swift and certainjustice," said Cary Police Chief Windy Hunter, "While I wish forthem that it could have happened sooner, I'm very proud of theremarkable effort that our folks have shown in solving this case."
On Feb. 27, 2002, Cary's investigation team followed up on unspecified leads that took them to an old farm well on private property in rural Nash County between Zebulon and Spring Hope. On Feb. 28 and March 1, a group of specialists assembled at the scene, excavated the 40-foot-deep well, and cooperatively removed the remains.
The last person seen with Simpson-Deane was Ward. He was arrested in January 2002 when police say he attacked a Cary officer, carjacked two drivers, led police on a high speed chase and fired shots at them.
Cary police have contacted Amanda's mother with the news.
Ward is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday for the federal carjacking charges. Cary police have already started the extradition process to try and bring Curtis back to North Carolina.
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