Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
Skull found in North Carolina is that of man killed by train
ENFIELD, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a skull found along train tracks in North Carolina belonged to a man struck and killed by a train earlier this year.
News outlets cite a statement from Robeson County Sheriff’s Office that says the skeletal remains found Dec. 11 belong to 24-year-old Varcy Locklear, who was struck and killed in late October.
Authorities believe Locklear was a stowaway on an Amtrak train traveling from Charlotte to New York when he either fell or jumped from the train. He was decapitated, and the rest of his body was found more than 100 miles away in Enfield.
The sheriff’s office previously said the dental records of a deputy’s daughter missing since 2015 were sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office to see whether they matched the skull.
ESCAPED INMATE CAPTURED
Escaped inmate captured within hours in North Carolina
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a minimum custody inmate was captured within hours after escaping in North Carolina.
A North Carolina Department of Public Safety release cited by news outlets says 35-year-old David W. Hinkle was last seen near Craggy Correctional Center around 7 p.m. Wednesday, and was reported missing three hours later. A second release says he was back in custody by 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
The department says Hinkle was admitted to the facility on Oct. 18 to serve a sentence for speeding and eluding arrest. He was scheduled for release in April, but now will be charged in connection with the escape.
It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer. The releases didn’t say how he escaped or where he was captured.
Death penalty in play for Navy veteran in woman’s death
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – The death penalty is not off the table for a Navy veteran charged with killing a Virginia woman whose kidnapping inspired the creation of an Amber Alert-like system for missing adults.
Eric Brian Brown was arrested last year in connection with the September 2017 kidnapping of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie. Her body was found about 330 miles (530 kilometers) away from Norfolk, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 46-year-old is charged with one count of kidnapping resulting in death and assault resulting in serious bodily injury and theft. A murder warrant from North Carolina remains unserved.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney for Virginia’s eastern district tells The Virginian-Pilot no decision has been made regarding whether to seek the death penalty. Brown has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and isn’t currently competent to stand trial.
Power restored to N Carolina city after widespread outage
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – Power has been restored to a North Carolina city that suffered a widespread outage for about seven hours after a transmission line was cut.
News outlets report about 22,000 customers in New Bern lost power Wednesday afternoon. Duke Energy says a vegetation management crew damaged a transmission line while clearing an area. City police say power was restored later that night.
The power outage clogged the streets with undirected traffic and forced restaurants to close. Nine schools in the area were without power, and CarolinaEast Medical Center relied on a generator to continue its operations.
All Craven County offices closed early for non-essential personnel. Normal operating hours are expected to resume Thursday.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-CONGRESS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Man in ballot probe declines to talk to board
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Newly released correspondence shows the man at the center of a North Carolina absentee ballot probe declined a formal request this week to be interviewed by elections board investigators.
The State Board of Elections released a letter, dated Dec. 16, to an attorney for Leslie McCrae Dowless. The board’s letter to attorney Cynthia Singletary requests an interview with Dowless, but notes that the board isn’t invoking its power to compel testimony.
The letter also informs the attorney that her client’s alleged actions during the 2018 election and before are “under criminal investigation” by the board’s investigators. They are looking into irregularities with the Nov. 6 vote in the state’s 9th District.
Singletary declined the board’s interview request on Tuesday.
Dowless and Singletary didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday. Singletary has previously said her client didn’t break any campaign laws.
New voter ID law immediately challenged in N Carolina court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The new North Carolina law detailing how a voter photo identification requirement is carried out has been challenged in court moments after the General Assembly completed the override of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure.
Six voters filed the lawsuit in Wake County court Wednesday afternoon, less than 15 minutes after the state House completed the override in a 72-40 vote. The Senate already voted to override Tuesday.
The photo ID law passed a month after a constitutional referendum mandating it was approved.
Still, the plaintiffs say the law violates the state constitution and retains requirements within a 2013 photo ID law that federal judges struck down. The voters argue the restrictions will harm black and American-Indian residents disproportionately and creates a financial cost to voting.
Cooper: Apple ‘open recruiting situation’ for North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper hasn’t given up yet on Apple creating more jobs soon in North Carolina.
In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Cooper declined to comment on why the state didn’t land thousands of new jobs that Apple announced last week would go to Austin, Texas. Cooper says he’s staying silent because he called Apple an “open recruiting situation” that could potentially yield more employment.
People familiar with recruitment efforts said last spring Apple was strongly considering North Carolina for its new corporate campus. Cooper and the legislature also made cash incentives more attractive to big companies through legislation.
Cooper says the state is still in a good position economically, pointing out decisions by Honeywell International and Advance Auto Parts to move headquarters to North Carolina.
BOIL WATER ADVISORY-TOWN
Leak leads to boil water advisory in North Carolina town
WALNUT COVE, N.C. (AP) – A water leak has led officials in a small North Carolina town to post a boil water advisory.
Officials in the town of Walnut Cove said in a Facebook post that the fire department found the source of the leak and stopped it Wednesday. However, town officials are still recommending to residents that they boil water for one minute to kill any potential disease-causing organisms in the water.
The leak created low water pressure and service outages.
Residents are also being asked to conserve water.