Teen Suspect Arrested in Double-Murder of 2 High School Students

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
October 7, 2022US News
Teen Suspect Arrested in Double-Murder of 2 High School Students
Lyric Woods. (Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities in North Carolina arrested a 17-year-old suspect in connection to the double murder of two high school students who went missing in mid-September.

The bodies of Lyric Woods, 14, and Devin Clark, 18, were located along a hiking trail near Buckhorn Road in Orange County on Sept. 18, according to a press release posted on Facebook by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Now, about two weeks later, officials announced that a juvenile, whose name is not yet revealed, was taken into custody in the high-profile homicide case.

“We hope this apprehension provides some relief to the families and friends of Devin and Lyric, who have experienced an excruciating loss,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a statement.

“Obviously, the capture of the suspect does not restore their loved one to them,” he added. “The grieving process is a long one, and we hope the community will continue to support them in their pain.”

Officials said the bodies of the two teenagers were discovered around 3 p.m. by two men riding four-wheelers about a day after the families of the victims reported their children missing.

Laws Regarding Juvenile Confidentiality

Blackwood addressed the lack of information about the suspect in the statement, explaining that members of the sheriff’s office are prohibited from sharing specific details about the case—including the name of the suspect, the location of the arrest, and which officer arrested the individual.

“We understand our community is hungry for information to help process this tragedy; however, the laws regarding juvenile confidentiality are ironclad,” Blackwood said. “We have no ability to set them aside, even given the heightened interest in this case.”

Under North Carolina law, people aged 16 and 17 who are being accused of crimes are no longer automatically charged in the adult criminal justice system under the “Raise the Age” bill that was passed in December 2019.

The juvenile court process is different in each county, but NCCU law professor Irving Joyner told ABC11 he doubts the case will remain in juvenile court due to the severity of the offense.

“Here you’re talking about two counts of first-degree murder. And it is very unusual and very rare, that a case of this magnitude stays in juvenile court,” Joyner said.

“It is a very serious accusation very serious prosecution,” he continued. “So both sides of the comb will want to ensure that all of the legal steps are properly navigated through, such that the rights of the suspect are protected, as well as the work of law enforcement in gathering this information that will then eventually be used for the prosecution at a trial. So you, you can’t rush it.”

Authorities haven’t disclosed the details about the shooting, including a possible motive.

On Sept. 20, investigators charged the 17-year-old suspect with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Woods and Clark, though no formal charges have been pressed yet due to the state’s judicial system.

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