Update Sept. 28, 3:45 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect additional investigation details from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
A suspect has been identified in the homicide investigation of 14-year-old Lyric Woods and 18-year-old Devin Clark, The Orange County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Office is seeking a juvenile petition against a 17-year-old for two counts of first-degree murder — according to a Tuesday statement from Sheriff Charles Blackwood. The petition was filed by juvenile court personnel with the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
“Through the hard work of my investigators, along with the assistance of personnel from many other law enforcement agencies, we have identified a suspect in this case," Blackwood said in a statement. "We will now work with local, state, and federal authorities to apprehend and present the suspect to the court system.”
First-degree murder is a Class A felony. As of 2019, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit crimes in North Carolina are no longer automatically charged in the adult criminal justice system, the Sheriff's Office said.
If there is a notice of indictment or the court finds probable cause for a Class A-G felony committed by a 16 or 17-year-old, a district court judge will transfer the case to superior court.
Woods and Clark were found deceased in Western Orange County on Sept. 18 by two men riding four-wheelers in the area. Both appeared to have gunshot wounds, the Sheriff's Office said.
Family members reported Woods missing Saturday afternoon to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. At 3:44 p.m. that day, the deputy filed the missing person’s report in the National Crime Information Center index.
An officer entered Clark's information into NCIC at approximately 1:42 p.m. on Sunday, after his family contacted the Mebane Police Department with concerns about his whereabouts.
The North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office is working and to establish an official cause of death.
“I want to thank the families of Devin Clark and Lyric Woods for trusting us and the investigative process during this excruciatingly painful time," Blackwood said. "I hope the apprehension of this subject will bring them some comfort as they mourn their loved ones.”
The investigation is still ongoing.
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The North Carolina General Statutes prohibits the release of all records and files pertaining to juveniles cases under supervision of juvenile court counselors, according to the Sheriff's Office. Records include — but are not limited to— laboratory tests, surveillance, confidential informants, photographs, officer case notes and information from witnesses.
Law enforcement will withhold all juveniles case materials from public inspection unless the case is transferred to superior court.
Blackwood said in a Sept. 26 statement that the Sheriff's Office seeks continued patience from the public related to this tragic case.
“We cannot afford a misstep this close to the goal line,” he said.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office requests that anyone with information regarding the case contact Investigator Keith Goodwin at (919) 245-2918.
This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.
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Ethan E. Horton
Ethan E. Horton is the 2023-24 city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a city & state assistant editor and as the 2023 summer managing editor. Ethan is a senior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and political science, with a minor in history.