The former boyfriend of missing Hope Mills teenager Danielle Locklear admitted to killing her, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and Hope Mills Police Department announced Tuesday night.
Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler and Chief Joel Acciardo called an emergency press conference to announce Je'Michael Malloy's arrest as well as confirm that a body recovered April 2 from the South River was Locklear's.
Acciardo said Malloy, 17, killed the 15-year-old South View High School student the night of March 11. Earlier that night she left home after telling her grandfather she was walking to a friend’s house about a block away. That was the last time her family saw her.
Deputies arrested Malloy Tuesday evening, and he was charged with 2nd degree murder. A second suspect, Dominic Lock, 18, was also arrested. On Wednesday, his charge was updated to 2nd degree murder in Locklear's death.
Acciardo said the night of March 11 Locklear actually walked to meet Malloy just outside her neighborhood. He said investigators learned that Locklear and Malloy got into an argument that night. Malloy told investigators the argument turned violent and he choked Locklear to death and stuffed a sock in her mouth.
He said he and Lock then tied cinder blocks to her body and tossed her into the South River just south of Autryville. Malloy lives nearby on Highway 210. Law enforcement officers searched his home on Friday. They also searched Lock’s home near Deep Creek Road in Fayetteville on Friday.
On April 2, an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff’s detective spotted a body in the South River off Hollow Bridge Road, just south of Autryville. Acciardo said investigators were able to conclude the body was Locklear’s by the clothing she was wearing at the time of her disappearance and based on Malloy’s confession. Investigators made that conclusion without a final identification from the medical examiner's office. Acciardo said he had not received the medical examiner's report on the body Tuesday night.
Both Malloy and Lock are charged with second degree murder because investigators do not believe they planned the murder, authorities said. Malloy is expected to make his first court appearance on Wednesday. Lock may also make his first appearance Wednesday. At that time a judge will decide whether to set a bond for either suspect.
Acciardo said other searches, including one at a home in Locklear’s neighborhood, did not result in any other suspects in the case.
Fellow classmates of Locklear's will hold a prayer meeting at 8 a.m. Thursday at South View High School.
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