Local News

Hoke County Says Goodbye to Slain Child

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RAEFORD — Just about everyone in Hoke County was at theJ.W. Turlington School at 3 p.m. Monday. At that hour, the funeral was held for 5-year-old Brittany Locklear, who was kidnapped from her bus stoplast week.

More than 4,000 people remembered Brittany Sunday night at a wake forthe young girl. Her family says she was a girl like any other, who lovedMcDonald's and Pocahontas, and a girl like no other with a special smileand a loving heart.

Investigators are working hard to find the man they believekidnapped, raped and killed Brittany Locklear. The young girl was abductedlast Wednesday by a man witnesses said was driving a brown pick-up truck.

Detectives have spent six hours questioning a man driving abrown pick-up truck about a quarter of a mile from where Brittany wastaken. The driver's truck was also examined, and then he was released.

The discovery of Brittany's body in a drainage pipe both saddened andworried the county, especially parents of young children. Many said theywould be more vigilant about their youngsters' whereabouts until themurderer is caught.

Anne Williamson, herself the mother of a 5-year-old, characterized themurder as "heartbreaking."

Hoke Sheriff Wayne Byrd says he wants to conduct the investigation in avery careful manner, "dotting the i's and crossing the t's," he said, sothat any eventual conviction could not be overturned on a technicality.

Byrd says many leads have come in, and his staff will follow up on allof them. Polygraph tests will be administered to many people, according toByrd, probably beginning with family members, but he cautioned that no oneshould read any special meaning into the order in which the tests areheld.

Brittany's mother, Connie Chavis, said that while the sheriff hasnot spoken to her about polygraph testing, she is ready to undergo itwithout reservations. She said she has spoken with the FBI, SBI andlocal police, telling everything she knows about the circumstances ofher daughter's abduction and murder.

And Byrd underscored his warning not to read any particular meaninginto the testing. "No family member is anymore of a suspect than anyoneelse," he said.

Anyone with information pertaining to Brittany's murder is asked tocall the hotline at 1-800-496-3803.

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