Missing girl found in Washington, D.C., after double homicide in east Charlotte

Major Mike Smathers discusses double homicide on Glencannon Drive

Major Mike Smathers of CMPD discusses Sunday's double homicide at 7519 Glencannon Drive as police investigate Charlotte's 24th and 25th homicides of the year.
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Major Mike Smathers of CMPD discusses Sunday's double homicide at 7519 Glencannon Drive as police investigate Charlotte's 24th and 25th homicides of the year.

After a search that led to Washington, D.C., police said Sunday evening they found a missing 11-year-old girl who lived at an east Charlotte home where a double homicide took place earlier in the day.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police had issued an Amber Alert seeking the public’s assistance in locating Arieyana Simone Forney. Police said she was found safe in Washington in a vehicle that had been seen leaving the home in the 7500 block of Glencannon Drive where the homicide victims were found.

The girl’s uncle, Curtis Atkinson Jr., 36, was in the car with Arieyana, and he’s now being held on local charges in Washington, police said. CMPD plans to seek charges against Atkinson for the murder of the two individuals in the home: Ruby Atkinson, 62, and Curtis Atkinson Sr., 63. They were Atkinson’s parents and Arieyana’s grandparents. Curtis Atkinson Jr. lived in the home, police said.

After receiving a call from someone inside the car, possibly Arieyana, Washington metro police stopped the white Chevrolet Impala after a brief pursuit, police said. There no serious injuries, according to CPMD.

Nikkia Cooper, 25, was also in the car and is being held in Washington on drug charges, police said. Detectives are working to determine her involvement in the incident.

CMPD detectives are working closely with the FBI, the SBI, the Washington, D.C., Police Department and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office to investigate the case.

Hickory Grove Division patrol officers were first summoned at 11:05 a.m. Sunday to assist the Charlotte Fire Department with a call about a house fire at the home, police said. The victims were found dead inside the home.

Observer news partner WBTV reported there was a shooting at the home and that there was an attempted arson at the crime scene.

Police said initial information indicated that a white 2005 Chevrolet Impala left the scene just before the Charlotte Fire Department arrived. Detectives began canvassing the area for potential witnesses, and then issued an Amber Alert requesting help finding Arieyana and the car.

“It is alarming,” Maj. Mike Smathers of CMPD said to reporters at the scene of the shooting. “This is a quiet neighborhood.”

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit detective. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website at

Sunday’s deaths follow a fatal shooting in east Charlotte on Saturday afternoon that left one victim dead and two others injured. Police said the shooting in the 4100 block of Colebrook Road occurred during a robbery, and they’re looking for three suspects.

The deceased victim in that shooting has been identified as Jarel D’Shaun Grace, 25.

Police had initially said there was only one other victim besides Grace, but in a later update said a third victim had been identified. Both of those victims had injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

Violent crime in Charlotte was up just over 10 percent in 2016, including more homicides and aggravated assaults, based on a report issued in January by CMPD.

Homicides last year increased 16.7 percent to 68, including three children. The city is on pace to eclipse that number in 2017.

Staff writer Deidra Laird contributed.

Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker