HOPE MILLS, N.C. -
A search warrant filed at the Cumberland County courthouse shows someone reported an assault on missing 15-year-old Danielle Locklear from Hope Mills.
The warrant states that while Hope Mills Police were investigating Locklear’s disappearance, a witness reported that Locklear was with a male at a creek off Legion Road when the assault happened. The witness said Locklear refused to provide sexual favors to the male and other people at the creek. The witness said the male and others then assaulted the victim “with their hands and feet, also with a sharp object causing severe injury and possibly death.”
The warrant states the information from the witness was received at approximately 10 p.m on March 25. It was not immediately clear if the assault was alleged to be happening at that time or at a previous time.
Locklear's family reports they last saw her on March 11, when she told her grandfather she was going to a friend’s house a block away.
The witness's statement led police to search a home about a block from where Locklear lived with her grandparents. Police took computers, a cell phone and a pair of metal snips from the home.
Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo said that search did not result in any conclusive evidence in the case. He said investigators have not been able to confirm the witness’s story about the alleged assault. No suspect has been named in the case. Acciardo said the story seems to be unfounded at this point, and investigators are no longer following that lead. However, he said police may revisit the story if investigators get more information.
A woman who answered the door at the home that police searched did not want to comment on Friday.
On Thursday, Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo said a body had been found in the South River near Autryville. The body could not be identified immediately, but Acciardo said investigators “have been in contact with the parents of Danielle Locklear about this possible development.”
Acciardo said he is waiting on a positive identification of the body from the NC Medical Examiner’s office.
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.
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