Charlotte-Mecklenburg police discovered two homicide victims early Thursday tied to a single case – one person was found dead inside a north Charlotte home and one was inside the trunk of a car.
The man suspected of killing them, Vurnel Smith Jr., 40, is traveling around Charlotte, police said. He is believed to be driving a 2017 black Honda CRV with an NC license plate, PAS-9116.
Jacquline Gordon-White, 65, was found dead inside a home on the 9000 block of Red Clay Lane, CMPD said.
A male was found dead in the trunk of a car that had been driven to the hospital by an injured woman early Thursday, police said. He hasn’t been identified yet.
It’s not yet known how the victims were killed. Police say it was a domestic dispute.
TV station WSOC reported that police arrived at the home about around 4:30 a.m., following a tip provided by an injured woman who showed up at Carolinas Medical Center-University at about 4 a.m.
CMPD still had the entire street blocked off with police tape late Thursday morning. A neighbor who has lived nearby for 12 years, but didn’t want to give his name, said the area is peaceful, with only a few break-ins in the time he’s lived there.
Gordon-White died about a half-mile from where Heidi May Morton was killed this month, records show. Morton, 35, was killed by her husband on Dusty Trail Road – by the intersection of West Sugar Creek Road and West W.T. Harris Boulevard.
Although police have yet to announce how the most recent victims died, at least 37 homicides this year have involved a gun. Others were stabbed or burned. A baby was neglected.
Thursday’s deaths are Charlotte’s 51st and 52nd homicides of 2017. In an unrelated case, police on Thursday said they had another homicide, the 53rd of the year, after a teen who was shot on Monday died.
The homicide count in Charlotte this year has been uncommonly high, on pace to reach nearly 100 by the end of the year. In 2016, which itself marked an seven-year high, Charlotte had 67 homicides.
North Carolina court records show Smith has a history of run-ins with the law dating back to 1997, including charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense, assault on a female and driving while impaired. . He has been found guilty of DWI, records show. .
Smith has pending trials on first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense. Both charges are related to a March 2015 case involving a woman in Kannapolis.
The victim told Kannapolis police that Smith, an acquaintance, broke into her home and sexually assaulted her, the Observer reported in 2015. He was later arrested in a Charlotte apartment complex, with the help of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
This is a developing story.
Reporter Taylor Blatchford contributed.