Three arrested for Clarkton murder

By: W. Curt Vincent - Bladen Journal

CLARKTON — The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office has jailed three individuals it believes are responsible for a murder on Wednesday in Clarkton.

Sheriff’s deputies were notified at about 5:30 p.m. concerning an unknown incident on Ida Lane. When deputies arrived, they discovered that the resident, 60-year-old Charles Leon Leach, was deceased.

“Investigators determined foul play to be a part of the investigation,” said Sheriff Jim McVicker. “An autopsy was conducted (Thursday morning) by the medical examiner in Raleigh and the exact cause of death (has not been determined), however blunt force trauma to the head was noted.”

Three suspects have been identified by investigators and all three were arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Those arrested were: Raliek Tyree Lapaix, 17, of Elizabethtown; Gabriel James McDowell, 16, of Clarkton; and Mailk Sharmaine Riggans, 25, of Elizabethtown. All three are being held in the Bladen County Detention Center without bond.

“This was a very cold, violent and despicable act,” said McVicker. “Through the use of our partnerships we were able to bring a quick resolution to this case.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and hope that this case will be quickly adjudicated in the criminal justice system,” he added.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Bladen County EMS, coroner’s office, Elizabethtown Police Department, State Bureau of Investigations, Division of Community Corrections and the District Attorney’s Office.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or

W. Curt Vincent

Bladen Journal