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Raleigh Police Say Four Students Murdered Homeless Man, Stuffed Body In Trash Can

Photo: RPD.

By The Raleigh Telegram

RALEIGH – The Raleigh Police Department announced that it recently five local school students in the murder of a homeless man whose body was found in a trash can in the woods after he disappeared.

According to Jim Sughrue of the Raleigh Police Department, Regynald Jose Brown, age 37, was last seen on November 4th by his friends.  When Brown was still missing on November 20th, acquaintances of Mr. Brown went to the authorities to report him missing as he never stayed gone that long, according to the Raleigh Police Department.

His friends told the police that he sometimes was homeless and sometimes stayed with friends.  After he was reported missing, a male and female who identified herself as a family member started searching for Mr. Brown at some of his known hangouts including spots in wooded areas where he sometimes lived.

On Saturday, December 8th, they located his body in the woods near the Capital Area Greenway, said police.   

“Those two individuals who had reported him missing went looking for him and located the body,” said police spokesman Jim Sughrue in an interview with The Raleigh Telegram today.

They found his remains in a secluded area in the woods, said police. 

“Brown’s remains were located…in a wooded area near the Capital Area Greenway, just west of Hammond Road,” said the Raleigh Police Department in a statement to the media last week.

In the 911 call reporting the discovery of the body, the caller said that when they found Mr. Brown, his body “had been there for a while.”

“He’s beyond help,” the caller told the dispatcher.  The caller said that the victim was found head first in a trash can at the scene.

“The body was upside down in the trash,” the unidentified caller said.   “[The trash can] was half-buried in the sand…when I pulled it and opened it on up, there was a body in there.”

The two people on the 911 phone call said they were in the area looking for Mr. Brown since there were some tunnels near the greenway that he was known to stay in.

This past week, the Raleigh Police announced that they had arrested five students in the murder of Mr. Brown.  Four students, who were not identified as they are under 16 years of age, were charged with murder.  A fifth student was charged with accessory after the fact, said police.  All of the students are being held under “secure custody,” said police.

Police would not identify where the students are from or where they went to school, citing laws against releasing the names of juveniles charged with crimes. 

According to the police, the detectives do not believe that the murder is gang-related.  The department said that the students knew each other but did not go further than that in talking about a motive for the crime.

“We have declined to discuss that at this time,” said Raleigh Police spokesman Jim Sughrue in an interview with The Telegram today.

The police did release the ages of the students, saying that one of the students is only 13 years old and that the rest of the students are 15 years old.  The student charged with accessory after the fact is also 15 years old, said the police.

It is possible that the 15 year old suspects may be tried in regular court at a later date if a hearing is held to determine whether they should be tried as juveniles or adults.  Sughrue said there is precedence for that and there was a case earlier this year in Raleigh where a 15 year old suspect was determined by the courts to be an adult in the eyes of the law.

“It’s up to the district attorney [to seek that designation as an adult],” said Sughrue in a telephone interview with The Telegram.

The Raleigh Police Department said that Mr. Brown died as a result of beating injuries.  They did not release further details citing the ongoing investigation said Jim Sughrue of the Raleigh Police Department.  ::

Article Posted: Monday, December 17th, 2012.