Teens found dead in Orange County are missing girl, 14, and boy, 18, sheriff says

Update: Orange Co NC teens Lyric Woods, Devin Clark homicides


Death investigation of Lyric Woods & Devin Clark

Two missing teens were found dead with gunshot wounds in Orange County near Hillsborough. Here is coverage of the investigation.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced a suspect Tuesday in the deaths of two teenagers who were found with gunshot wounds outside Hillsborough on Sunday.

Court officials have filed a juvenile petition against a 17-year-old who will be charged with two counts of murder, according to a news release. The name of the suspect, who was not yet in custody Tuesday afternoon, has not been released.

“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,” Sheriff Charles 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 and, in North Carolina, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit this crime are no longer automatically charged as adults.

If there is probable cause or an indictment for a juvenile, a district court judge will give the case to the superior court for a ruling.

Lyric Woods, 14, and Devin Clark, 18, were found dead in the Buckhorn Road area outside Hillsborough, about 3 p.m. Sunday.

The local high school students had gunshot wounds, and the Sheriff’s Office launched a homicide investigation. Investigators are still waiting for the State Medical Examiner’s Office to officially confirm their identities and cause of death.

“Although we do not have that confirmation yet, in the absence of any other missing persons matching the descriptions of the individuals located, the tragic but logical conclusion is increasingly clear,” Blackwood said in a news release Monday.

A makeshift memorial sits a few yards from the entrance of a gravel road in Orange County Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Monday the two young people found shot and killed Sunday in western Orange County are missing teens Lyric Woods, 14, and Devin Clark, 18. Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

What we know

When were Lyric and Devin last seen? The two teenagers were reported missing by their families before their bodies were found Sunday.

Woods was last seen by her stepfather around 11 p.m. Friday at their house in Efland in western Orange County, according to a missing persons report filed with the Sheriff’s Office around noon Saturday.

Her stepfather said he learned Woods was missing around 10 a.m. Saturday when he went to wake her up, according to the report.

A copy of Clark’s missing persons report released by the Mebane Police Department said he also was last seen around 11 p.m. Friday but provided few other details. The report was filed Sunday around 11:25 a.m.

Who found their bodies? Two men riding four-wheelers found the teens Sunday before 3 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.

ABC11, The News & Observer’s newsgathering partner, reported they were found near a power-line easement in the Buckhorn Road area outside Hillsborough. The site is about 2 miles away from the house where Woods was last seen.

A memorial with crosses, candles, lights, and other items has been set up at the site by community members, friends and family.

On Monday evening, there was a memorial service for Clark at Eastern Alamance High School.

How can people help catch the killer(s) or give information? Anyone with possible information about the case is asked to call Investigator Keith Goodwin at the Sheriff’s Office at 919-245-2918.

Their office is working with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, the Efland Fire Department, the Burlington Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Viper Unit of the State Highway Patrol, according to the Tuesday release.

Woods’ grandfather, Stan Dean, is also offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who had information about who is responsible for her death.

Stan Dean, the grandfather of Lyric Woods, stands over a makeshift memorial that sits a few yards from the entrance of a gravel road in Orange County Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Monday the two young people found shot and killed Sunday in western Orange County are missing teens Lyric Woods, 14, and Devin Clark, 18. Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

Records, including 911 calls and the incident report for the case, will not be released to the public or media until after the approval of the sheriff and the completed investigation, according to Kevin Medlin, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office.

Who were Lyric Woods and Devin Clark?

What schools did Lyric and Devin attend? Woods was a ninth-grader at Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough, and Clark was a senior at Eastern Alamance High School.

The Sheriff’s Office did not say whether the two students knew each other, though several posts from friends and family on social media say the two were friends.

Clark was a wide receiver for the Eastern Alamance football team, according to a statement from the Alamance-Burlington School System.

In addition to Cedar Ridge, Woods had attended Gravelly Hill Middle and Efland-Cheeks Global Elementary, the school district said.

How can people help their families? By Tuesday afternoon, two GoFundMe pages had raised over $40,000 to help the teens’ families pay their funeral costs.

Friends of Woods’ family created this confirmed GoFundMe.

The aunt of Clark has organized this GoFundMe page for him.

The Orange Report

Calling Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough readers! We’ve launched The Orange Report, a free weekly digest of some of the top stories for and about Orange County published in The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. Get your newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday at 11 a.m. featuring links to stories by our local journalists. Sign up for our newsletter here. For even more Orange-focused news and conversation, join our Facebook group “Chapel Hill Carrboro Chat.”

This story was originally published September 20, 2022 2:09 PM.

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Kristen Johnson is a reporter on The News & Observer’s breaking news team. She is an alumna of UNC at Charlotte and American University.

Colleen Hammond is a recent graduate of Duquesne University from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has previously covered breaking news, local government, the COVID-19 pandemic and racial issues for the Pittsburgh City Paper and Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

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