Two charged over death of trans teenager on a first date in North Carolina

Joshua Newton and Victoria Smith

Two people have been charged in connection with the death of a trans teenager whose body was found after he disappeared while on a date in North Carolina.

Jacob Williamson, 18, was last seen on 30 June after going on a date with someone he met online. His body was found by police, near a road eight miles from Pageland, South Carolina, four days later.

The Union County sheriff’s office in North Carolina confirmed that Joshua Newton, 25, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and obstruction of justice, while his girlfriend, 22-year-old Victoria Smith faces charges of obstruction of justice and accessory-after-the-fact. 

The incident is not currently being treated as a hate crime. 

Williamson had been living with his childhood friend, Promise Edwards, at the time of his death, after some members of his family rejected him for being trans. 

Throughout the evening he shared his live location with Edwards, but she noticed he stopped doing so during the night. 

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Edwards became concerned and called the police when she was unable to contact the teenager.

The police believe that Newton drove more than 100 miles to collect Williamson and reportedly took him to his trailer park home, in Monroe, North Carolina, where he is alleged to have killed the teenager. 

Edwards told WBTV that her last words to him were: “I love you, see you in the morning.” 

She added: “Please express to [your children] how unsafe it is to go with people online, how unsafe it is to get in the car with anybody you do not know because this is our reality now. 

“Our reality is missing somebody who never deserved to go away like this.” 

A vigil was held for Williamson on Monday (24 July). 

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