Local News

Friends mourn slain teenager

Posted March 22, 2009 10:07 p.m. EDT
Updated March 23, 2009 4:42 p.m. EDT

— Friends and family members are mourning the loss of a 16-year-old girl found dead this weekend near the Eno River.

Mylin Bullock's badly beaten and burned body was found in a dirt parking lot off Old Oxford and Snow Hill roads Saturday morning. Authorities have charged her stepfather, Jeffrey H. Gist, 33, of Durham, with first-degree murder in her death.

A judge on Monday ordered Gist be held without bond in the Durham County Jail. The judge agreed to appoint a public defender to represent Gist, and a court date was set for April 13.

Friends said Bullock would sometimes talk about her stepfather.

"She would just say he (Gist) was strict, real strict, and he didn't want her doing a lot of stuff,” friend Malcolm Burns said.

Bullock's mother reported the teen missing early Saturday. The mother said she had worked an overnight shift and returned home to find her daughter gone.

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

A neighbor placed flowers and a teddy bear on the doorstep of that home Sunday. Friends also posted condolences on Facebook.com.

"She cracked a lot of jokes and you laughed. She made everyone smile in the room with her,” friend Eric Spicer said. "You have got to cherish all your friends and every moment you have with them."

"It is hard because I can't believe it. I am still thinking that I am going to see her on Monday," friend Rajean Markham said.

Bullock was a sophomore at Northern High School, 117 Tom Wilkinson Road in Durham. Her principal said Sunday she was a "very, sweet young lady and loved by many people."

The principal also said grief counselors were at the school Monday morning to help students deal with Bullock's death.

Gist 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.