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Witness Found in UNC- Pembroke Murder Case, Prosecutors Lose Suspect

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FAYETTEVILLE — There is a bizarre twist in a strange case. Prosecutors had finally built a case in the year-old murder of a UNC-Pembroke student. However, their star witness disappeared last week. After Michael Oxendine was found in the hospital, the charges against the main suspect were dropped.

Prosecutors felt they had finally made some headway in the case, but now they are back to square one. They made it clear that they no longer have a case against anyone.

It has been fifteen months since UNC-Pembroke junior Cindy Wheeler was murdered. Despite one arrest it appears her murder is more of a mystery than ever.

Charges against Dane Locklear were dropped when the prosecution's only witness, Michael Shane Oxendine, gave statements that retracted his previous allegations. Oxendine disappeared a week ago and then re-appeared this weekend at the Robeson County Hospital.

Oxendine had been shot in the side. Investigators say they do not know if the shooting is related to the Wheeler murder.

"He underwent emergency surgery. Since the surgery we have not been able to talk with him to get a statement as to exactly what happened in the incident," Robeson County Sheriff's Department Major Jimmy Maynor said. "We do have information as to who the shooter was, but still we have not been able to confirm that by the victim."

Even though the only witness has been located, prosecutors say he may be be useless.

"Coupled with the fact that we could not locate him are the allegations that he has given two statements to the defense attorneys retracting the statements he made to police," Maynor said.

"I will not and the University will not feel comfortable or satisfied until justice has come to pass in the case," District Attorney Johnson Britt said. "So we're disturbed."

Investigators interviewed Oxendine late Tuesday night. They say they should know by Wednesday if the shooting and the Wheeler murder are connected.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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