Local News

Body of police chief's daughter found; sex offender sought

Posted September 19, 2010 11:46 a.m. EDT
Updated September 20, 2010 12:10 p.m. EDT

— The body of the missing daughter of the Concord police chief was found in a storage shed, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are searching for a convicted sex offender.

Michael Neal Harvey, 34, has been charged with murder in the death of 23-year-old Valerie Grace Hamilton. He remains at large.

Hamilton, the daughter of Concord Police Chief Merl Hamilton, was last seen at Thomas Street Tavern between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

WBTV-TV in Charlotte reported that Hamilton's body was found at Mini-Storage Center on Monroe Road. Police have not said how she died or what they think happened to her between her disappearance and the discovery of her body.

Police said they believe that Harvey might still be in the Charlotte area, but his information has been entered into a database accessible to law enforcement agencies nationwide, WBTV reported. His last known address was 7321 Pebblestone Drive in Charlotte.

Hamilton was last seen leaving the bar with a white man in his 30s. A manager at the bar told WBTV that no one knew the man and that her car was left in the parking lot, with her purse and ID inside. Police obtained surveillance photos and receipts from the bar.

Hamilton was reported missing after she didn't show up for work as a swimming instructor at the Little Otter Swim School Wednesday morning. She was a student at Central Piedmont Community College.

Harvey is described as a white man, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds. He has brown eyes and short, brown hair.

He is thought to be driving a 1996 white Chevy Blazer, North Carolina license plate ZXE-1756. It has either two or four doors.

Harvey is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry. He was convicted in 1996 of felony first-degree sexual abuse of a woman in Niagara Falls City, N.Y., and sentenced to three to six years in prison.

Harvey has also amassed a criminal record in North Carolina, according to state Department of Correction records. He was convicted in 2006 of failure to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to probation.

DOC records show that he was still serving 30 months' probation for his most recent convictions in 2009 for felony breaking-and-entering, larceny after breaking-and-entering and shoplifting.

Anyone who sees Harvey is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or to speak directly to lead Detective Martin or the Charlotte police's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team at 704-336-8228.