HOPE MILLS — After nearly a month of investigation, the former boyfriend of Danielle Locklear has confessed to choking the 15-year-old to death and dumping her body in the South River, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
Je’Michael Malloy, 17, of N.C. 210 South, Autryville, and his friend, 18-year-old Dominic Lock, of Cade Hill Avenue, Fayetteville, were charged Tuesday with second-degree murder. Malloy and Lock are accused of tying cinder-blocks to Locklear’s body and throwing her from a bridge above the river. They were each placed in jail under a $100,000 bond.
The Fayetteville Observer reported that the body spotted in the South River on April 2 by an off-duty detective has not been identified as Locklear’s, but that Malloy’s confession matches what investigators have found.
A description of Locklear and the clothing she was wearing when she disappeared also helped police identify the body, according to a statement from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
The South View High School student was last seen by her family on March 11, when she said she was going to visit a friend nearby in their Trencholm Road neighborhood. Her grandfather reported her missing two days later.
Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo said at a news conference that Malloy admitted that he argued with Locklear on the night of March 11, became violent and choked her, stuffing a sock in her mouth, the statement said.
Acciardo said Malloy was not initially a suspect, but became one after a tip spurred further investigation, the Fayetteville paper reported.
The teen’s disappearance sparked an outpouring of support. A 50-person task force, including the State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, searched for Locklear, along with hundreds of volunteers. A Facebook page dedicated to the search garnered more than 12,000 followers.
“It is with a heavy heart I post that confirmation has been received — the body found in the South River April 2nd was that of Danielle Locklear. Please keep her & her family in your prayers and surround them with love. R.I.P. Dannie!,” a post written Tuesday night on the “Find Danielle Locklear ‘Dannie’” page said.
Posts on Malloy’s Facebook page express disbelief that he could have killed Locklear. On March 19, one post asked if Malloy had seen or heard from her.
“No, have you?” he said.