Local News

Report: Hoke Child the Victim of Rape

Posted January 9, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— The search continues for little Brittany Locklear's killer. And, on the heels of the girl's murder, new details are raising fears that a habitual child predator may be at large.

Sheriff Wayne Byrd said that another child was approached by a strange man days before Brittany was kidnapped, but the man took off when a second child approached.

"I found out this morning that another child was approached last week by a person in a different type of vehicle," Sheriff Byrd said in a news conference on Friday. "But when another child came up, the person drove off.

Byrd also stated Saturday that the brown truck involved in the abduction did have a camper shell with windows attached to it. The incident happened in Brittany's neighborhood.

Meanwhile, local authorities, the SBI, and the FBI are searching for Brittany's murderer. The five-year-old girl was kidnapped from the bus stop and murdered near her Hoke County home. Now, the focus of that investigation may be shifting.

For the first time, Brittany Locklear's relatives made the tough trip to the murder scene on Friday. Since the roadblocks have come down, the quiet road near the murder scene has been crowded with curious onlookers.

Investigators still await autopsy results before they will release details about the kindergartner's death. The sheriff did specify that when searchers found Brittany, she was partially-clothed. The medical examiner's report also indicateds that the child was the victim of rape.

Brittany's mother, Connie Chavis, is sounding more defiant. She says she won't feel better until the person who killed her daughter is locked up. Chavis says she wants to see justice served, because her child didn't deserve to die.

Byrd says that due to the nature and location of the killing, it is his belief that the suspect isn't some stranger from out of town. He says that the killer may well be someone from within a 25-mile radius of Raeford -- someone who knew their way around the crime scene's back roads.

Hoke County authorities have staffed a "war room" where tips and leads about Brittany's death are recorded and processed. They say that they're receiving about 30 calls an hour, mostly from folks in surrounding counties. However, calls have come in from as far away as Virginia and Florida.

Authorities have no plans to release information on Brittany's cause of death. They see that information as a vital link in their search for a suspect.

If you have information about Brittany's killer, the Hoke County Sheriff's Department wants you to call them at1-800-496-3808.

Trust and reward funds have been set up in Brittany's name. Contributions can be mailed to:

The Fidelity BankP.O. Box 416Raeford, NC 28376

You need to earmark whether you want the money to go to the Brittany Locklear trust fund or to the reward fund.

Brittany will lie in state from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday night in the auditorium of the J.W. Turlington School Auditorium in Raeford. The family will receive friends on Sunday at the same location.

The funeral will be held on Monday, January 12 at 3:00 p.m. at the Stevens Family Cemetery, just south of Raeford. The public is welcome.

andLen Besthoff

andMark CopelandOnLine Producers:Kerrie HudzinskiandBrian Shrader