(GOLDSBORO, N.C.) — Three people are under arrest on murder charges in conjunction with the disappearance of Kennedy McLaurin Jr., 16, who vanished on Sept. 9 in Goldsboro, N.C.
Despite the fact that no body has been found, Leonard Joyner, 21, Jerome Butts, 19, and Kevin Edward Smith, 18, were arrested Friday and charged with murder. A warrant has also been taken out for arrest of Curtis Etheridge, 17, also charging him with murder.
“The police department has identified all of the subjects involved in this case,” Goldsboro Police Sgt. Dwayne Dean told ABC station WTVD-TV, in Raleigh-Durham. “We can assure the public that this is not gang related nor was it random.”
McLaurin, a high school junior from Goldsboro who was described as having pierced ears and a tattoo of the initial “K” on his left hand, vanished nearly two weeks ago. It was unlike him to disappear without word, his parents told WTVD.
“It’s agonizing not knowing,” McLaurin’s mother, Kim Best, told WTVD. “I haven’t been able to function, hardly do anything — just waiting around for him to come home.”
Witnesses told police that McLaurin, who was 5 foot 9 inches, 135 pounds, with black hair, and brown eyes, was abducted by four men and forced into a car in front of a housing project. Police are looking for a bluish-grey older model Buick or Lincoln.
The community has gathered around the McLaurin family. Hundreds of people attended a rally Friday night for McLaurin, marching to the Goldsboro Police Department while officers on bicycles and in patrol cars escorted them.
While investigators have found physical evidence related to the crime in a farm field, they have still not recovered McLaurin’s body, police said.
The three suspects are being held in the Wayne County Jail without bond. They are scheduled to appear in court on Monday morning.
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