Local News

Stepfather arrested in Durham girl's slaying

Posted March 21, 2009 11:39 a.m. EDT
Updated March 23, 2009 4:42 p.m. EDT

— The Durham's Sheriff's Office arrested a suspect in the death of a 16-year-old girl whose body was found in the dirt parking lot at a nature preserve along the Eno River Saturday morning, officials said.

Jeffrey H. Gist, 33, of Durham, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mylin T. Bullock, of Durham, police said. Gist was being held at the Durham County Jail without bond.

Bullock's mother reported the teen as a missing early Saturday shortly after the body was found, authorities said. The mother had worked an overnight shift and returned home to find her daughter was gone.

Gist, the victim and her mother lived in the same Durham home, and the couple had been married for several years, police said.

Investigators have not commented on a motive for the slaying.

Dispatch officials said a 911 call about the homicide came in at 7:11 a.m. Mylin's body was found in a dirt parking lot off Old Oxford and Snow Hill roads. That location bounds Penny's Bend, a nature preserve that's also a popular fishing spot.

Two fishermen – Donald Romain and Kenneth Lewis – said they found the body just before 7 a.m. and alerted authorities. They said the victim was lying face down and wearing pajamas. Her body was badly beaten and burned. She had lacerations on her face and the back of her legs, the men said.

“It was a grisly scene. It was a young female, and she was partially charred. You couldn’t tell much more than that,” Romain said.

"They weren't trying to hide it. They didn't care. They were ruthless," Lewis said.

Bullock was a student at Northern High School in Durham, police said.

Gist, who was expected in court Monday morning, has convictions for felony and misdemeanor breaking-and-entering for incidents that occurred between 1998 and 2002 in Guilford County, according to state Department of Correction records. He served nearly 18 months in prison.