Mount Holly police say they are looking for a second Charlotte teenager who may have played a role in the murder of a 14-year-old girl Monday at a park in Mount Holly.
It is believed the second suspect, Eric Deon Combs, 17, of Charlotte, has fled to Ohio, said Mount Holly officials.
A murder warrant has been issued for his arrest and Mount Holly officers are working with state and federal agencies in an attempt to find him. His arrest record includes charges of assaulting a school employee, resisting arrest and communicating threats, all of which were dismissed without leave. Combs has a pending trial for possession of marijuana.
One teen has already been arrested in the case: Darvon Malik Fletcher, 18, of Charlotte. He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 14-year-old Taylor Sotera Smith of east Charlotte, according to Mount Holly Police.
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Smith died after being shot multiple times in River Street Park at about 3 p.m. Investigators say they responded to a call of possible gunshots near River Street Park and found Smith lying on the ground with what appeared to be gunshot wounds.
“It appears the homicide was not a random act, as the individuals involved were familiar with each other, and had traveled to the park from Charlotte,” said Mount Holly Police Chief Don Roper. “The investigation is ongoing.”
A GoFundMe account set up to raise $2,000 for Smith’s funeral has surpassed its goal in the first 22 hours. The account identifies her as the daughter of Sabrina Grimsley and grand daughter of Carolyn Grimsley of Charlotte. It is believed the girl was living with her grandmother.
“We do not know who killed her or why. We can't comprehend why anyone would kill a 14 year old child,” said Jade Bethune, who is identified on GoFundMe as Taylor Smith’s cousin. “We all are still in shock and disbelief that Taylor is gone.”
Mecklenburg County Jail records show Darvon Fletcher has four previous arrests dating back to 2015. He has been found guilty of misdemeanor larceny (for shoplifting) and felony breaking and entering. Trials are pending for simple assault, shoplifting, common law robbery, second-degree trespass and probation violation, records show.
Sources have told the Observer that Taylor Smith recently enrolled at Turning Point Academy in Charlotte, after leaving Eastway Middle School.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Mount Holly Police Department at 704-827-4343, or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.