Crime & Courts

Mom accused of helping son flee after killing of 14-year-old girl

Taylor Smith
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A Gaston County grand jury on Monday indicted the 38-year-old mother of a murder suspect on an accessory charge in the killing of a 14-year-old girl in a Mount Holly park.

Taylor Sotera Smith of east Charlotte died after being shot multiple times in River Street Park at about 3 p.m. April 3, police said.

The grand jury returned a true bill of indictment that accuses LaQuita Lynn Garrett of Charlotte of helping son Eric Deon Combs Jr. flee to Ohio after the shooting. Garrett was indicted on a charge of accessory after the fact to a felony.

Combs, 17, and Darvon Malik Fletcher, 18, both of Charlotte, were charged with first-degree murder in Taylor’s death.

Combs turned himself in to Ohio authorities. Combs and his mom fled to Dayton, Ohio, an FBI agent said in an affidavit.

Garrett was arrested by Mount Holly Police when she went to the department to ask about retrieving items police seized during the investigation, Mount Holly Police Chief Don Roper said. Garrett was in the Gaston County Jail on $1 million bail Monday night.

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.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak