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Students Remember Murdered Classmate as New Evidence Surfaces

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RAEFORD — Students at West Hoke Elementary school are remembering a a little girl who died in a brutal murder. Brittany Locklear was kidnapped from her school bus stop, then killed in January.

Even as the students pay their respects, there is new information in the investigation.

Hoke County Sheriff Wayne Byrd says his department is still working on a criminal history for the prime suspect who lived within 25 miles of the Locklear home. He is known to have some sort of criminal record in another state. The suspect was interviewed by another agency early on in the investigation, but was let go. When new information surfaced a few weeks ago, he again became a suspect who may be asked to submit to a polygraph test soon.

As all that takes place, Brittany's classmates planted a tree on school property in memory of their friend.

"It's a very sad time for me," said Byrd. "I was hoping we'd have some closure, in that I would have someone arrested when we did this today."

Brittany's mother was presented with a framed photograph of the child that was taken at a class outing.

While they were very touched by the tree-planting, Brittany's family said it was a difficult experience. Her mother expressed sorrow that Brittany's little group of friends was present, but without Brittany in their midst.

In Brittany's classroom, sympathy cards and letters of remembrance remain on the wall. Her kindergarten friends still ask about her.

Both the State and Federal bureaus of investigation have been working on the case this week in both Scotland and Robeson counties.


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