Je’Michael Malloy is behind bars for murdering his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend, Danielle Locklear, and dumping her body in a river in Hope Mills, North Carolina.
On the evening of March 11, 2014, Danielle, who at the time was a freshman at South View High School, told her grandfather that she wanted to return a book to one of her friends, who lived down the street, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
He gave her permission to leave their home in the Fox Meadow-Brookridge subdivision, but he told Danielle that he wanted her to hurry back.
When hours went by and Danielle hadn’t returned, her grandparents called her cell phone, but they were unable to get a hold of her. That’s when they contacted the Hope Mills Police Department and reported Danielle missing.
Law enforcement officers and volunteers searched the surrounding areas, put up missing persons billboards, and passed out flyers around town in hopes of finding the missing teen alive.
Nearly three weeks later, on April 2, 2014, Danielle was found dead.
An off-duty officer spotted her body floating in the South River, along the Sampson/Cumberland County line, with cinder blocks tied to her waist and ankles.
Dr. Falvy Barr Jr., a medical examiner at the Sampson County Medical Examiner’s Office, performed an autopsy, which revealed that Danielle Locklear’s cause of death was asphyxiation.
Barr stated that at the time Danielle’s body was found, there was a sock shoved down her throat, but he was unable to determine if that was a contributing factor in her death.
Hope Mills Deputy Police Chief David Servie told True Crime Daily that he thought the cinder blocks found tied to Danielle’s body were unique.
He said, “You would usually see them around a really old house or something like that… I learned a long time ago that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. The next day we executed a search warrant at Je’Michael’s house.”
Officers went to Je’Michael’s house and found nylon rope and cinder blocks next to his garage, which match those found on the victim’s body.
“When I saw those cinder blocks at Je’Michael’s house, I knew we were at the right place. I knew it. There was no doubt in my mind,” said Servie.
Police officials also discovered Danielle’s cell phone on a highway median, which was a short distance from Je’Michael’s home. And the phone appeared to have been tossed at the scene.
In a voice message to Danielle, Je’Michael could be heard saying, “If you come around me, I will kill you.”
On April 9, 2014, while being interrogated by police, Je’Michael Malloy confessed to killing Danielle Locklear after he broke up with her.
Danielle and Je’Michael began dating in the summer of 2013 after meeting each other at a youth summer camp operated by an Autryville church.
They dated for less than a year before ending their relationship.
Je’Michael asserted that Danielle lied to her grandfather about going to a friend’s house to return a book. She, instead, met up with him on a path leading to Rockfish Creek—a popular hangout spot in Hope Mills.
Once there, she told him she was pregnant, and an argument ensued. According to The Fayetteville Observer, the medical examiner confirmed that Danielle was not pregnant at the time of her death.
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West stated that he thinks Danielle lied about being pregnant “to get his [Je’Michael] attention.”
“I can’t say that she wanted him to stay with her other than that these were teenagers coming to the end of a relationship,” West said.
As Danielle turned away, Je’Michael said he walked behind her and strangled her to death. He then ran to the car, which was about 70 yards away, where his friend Dominic Lock was waiting.
He said he told Dominic that Danielle Locklear was dead, and he said he needed his help in getting rid of her body, as they could both get charged with murder if they were to get caught.
Dominic told investigators that when he went to the creek, he was shocked to see Danielle lying motionless on the ground—on her stomach.
He admitted to helping Je’Michael move Danielle’s body to the trunk of the car. When her body began to make noises, Dominic said they took one of her socks off and put it down her throat to silence her.
They then drove to Je’Michael’s house to retrieve nylon rope and cinder blocks so that they could tie them to Danielle’s body. Afterward, they dumped her in the South River.
Investigators said Je’Michael showed no emotion while confessing to Danielle Locklear’s murder. He only began to cry when he talked about his military career being over before it even began.
When Danielle’s relatives found out that Danielle’s killer was her ex-boyfriend, they stated that they were shocked, as he was by their side throughout the whole ordeal: cooking for them, checking on their wellbeing, offering hugs, and even liking their Facebook page. Find Danielle Locklear “Dannie.”
Je’Michael was arrested and held at the Cumberland County Jail on a $100,000 bond, which some considered to be extremely low.
He was charged with second-degree murder, as the judge thought the killing was a crime of passion—he believed Je’Michael killed Danielle in the heat of the moment.
CBS 17 reported that in May 2016, Je’Michael pleaded guilty to the charges and apologized to the victim’s family. He said, “I know there is nothing I can do or say that is going to bring her back.”
“But, I do want to apologize for the actions I made. I know sorry does not cut it, but I want to say I am truly sorry.”
Due to his age at the time of the crime, he was not eligible for the death penalty. Je’Michael was therefore sentenced to 25 to 31 years in prison.
Dominic was also taken into custody and charged with accessory after the fact of murder for helping Je’Michael get rid of Danielle’s body.
He pleaded guilty to the charge in July 2015. He, too, apologized to Danielle’s family, but according to WRAL, they weren’t ready to forgive him.
Danielle’s mother, Rona Fowler, said: “You are a loyal friend because, if my friend would sit there and ask me to get a cinder block and ropes and tie somebody up and throw them across the river—yeah, that’s real brilliant — I would have ran somewhere so fast.”
She added, “I would have called 911, knocked on somebody’s door to say something has transpired now, my friend has done something. But no, you went along with it.”
In 2016, Dominic was sentenced to at least six years in prison.
On May 3, 2014, hundreds of people congregated at Fayetteville’s Manna Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for Danielle Locklear’s funeral.
She was laid to rest at the Upper Room Prayer House Church cemetery in Cedar Creek, Cumberland County, North Carolina.