By Alex Arger
UNION COUNTY, N.C. (Scripps News) — Two people have been arrested after a missing 18-year-old was found dead after going to meet someone from an online dating site.
Investigators say Kierstyn Williamson, a South Carolina native, was last seen and heard from during the evening hours of June 30, prompting family members to report the disappearance.
Union County, North Carolina sheriff’s deputies began looking into the case Sunday after receiving a tip Williamson was at a home in Monroe, North Carolina.
The sheriff’s office said at the time of the disappearance, Williamson was expecting to meet a man, 25-year-old Joshua Newton, in person for the first time after talking to him online for a month. Authorities said Newton had picked Williamson up from work in Laurens, South Carolina, and drove the victim back to his Monroe home — the location of the sheriff’s tip.
After a 36-hour search and investigation, Union County sheriffs found Williamson’s body a few miles from Newton’s house on the side of a road.
Authorities arrested two suspects, including Newton, in what is now a homicide investigation. He was charged with first degree murder and obstruction of justice, while his 22-year-old live-in girlfriend Victoria Smith was charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact. Police say Smith helped Newton hide Williamson’s body after he killed the victim.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim in this case as they begin to mourn this unimaginable loss,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement. The investigation is ongoing.
This story was originally published by Scripps News, an E.W. Scripps Company.