Five Chapel Hill teenagers accused of gang raping a 16-year-old girl appeared in court for the first time Tuesday after being arrested Friday.
Sean Crawford-Brown, 17; Mark Anthony Holland, 17; Brian Gregory Minton, 16; Chanquez Neville, 17; and Colton O. Sanders, 17, each face one-count of first-degree rape in connection with an alleged incident that occurred Sept. 2 near the retail section of Southern Village.
Chapel Hill police said the alleged victim's friend reported the allegations Nov. 30. Investigators then had to locate and interview the alleged victim and each suspect before making the arrests.
Because the crime was not reported until nearly three months later, it took them longer to investigate and bring charges, Capt. Jackie Carden, with the Chapel Hill Police Department, said.
"We had five suspects that we wanted to, at least, attempt to interview prior to charging anyone," Carden said. "And we wanted to make sure all five were interviewed before the charges, and between that length of time, it took for us to get everything to fall in place."
Police said Neville attends at Pace Academy in Chapel Hill; Minton is at Chapel Hill High School. It was not clear where Crawford-Brown and Sanders go to school. Holland is a cook at UNC-Chapel Hill's off-campus dorm, Granville Towers.
Parents said all four of the suspects are friends, but it was unclear how they knew the alleged victim.
Minton and Sanders were arrested Friday and three others surrendered to police. Four of the five have made statements to investigators, but police would not elaborate further on the case.
Holland, Minton, Neville and Sanders were in the Orange County Jail Tuesday afternoon under a $200,000 bond. Crawford-Brown was out of jail on the same amount. The judge scheduled a bond hearing for the remaining four on Thursday.
Parents who attended Tuesday's hearing said they support their children and believe they are innocent.
"This stinks to high heaven, and a half-truth is nothing but a whole lie," said Patrick Sanders, Colton Sanders' father, outside the courtroom. "And that's all I've got to say."
Community members in Southern Village, a 300-acre, mixed-use development near the southern edge of Chapel Hill, were shocked Tuesday by the news of the alleged rape. Many locals consider the area to be a safe and quiet place.
"It's a shame," said Keith Getchell, who has managed a restaurant in the area for nearly a year. "I never would have guessed that something like that would have happened."
Editor's Note: An earlier version of the story erroneously stated that Colton Sanders attended Woods Charter School in Chatham County. He does not attend the school.