Dive team looks for safe from Boykins home

Published 11:11 am Monday, June 20, 2011

MURFREESBORO—A Southampton County dive team last week failed to find a safe stolen from a Boykins home, which the suspects then burned to the ground.

Divers used a sonar device to look for the safe beneath the Mayor Billy Hill Bridge on U.S. 258 over the Meherrin River in Murfreesboro, N.C. It was stolen from the home of Leon Bolton on Burnt Reed Road.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe and Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan requested the search, which stemmed from information received from one of the five individuals arrested for an alleged crime spree that involved at least 19 robberies and five arsons in Virginia and North Carolina.

The sonar “hit” on two items on the river bottom; divers were sent down to search. The dark water beneath the surface produced zero visibility in some spots. The divers also encountered numerous fallen trees and limbs, making their search area tougher to navigate.

“As we continued the investigation into this series of crimes, one the suspects shared information concerning that an item stolen in Southampton County was thrown in the river from this bridge,” Vaughan said while watching the divers from the shore.

“It’s a slow search with the water the way it is today,” he added. “About all the divers can do is feel around.”

Suspects charged so far are Lionel A. Walden, 21, Conway, N.C.; and Antonio L. Holley, 22, Darrin Deloatch, 21, Gennile M. Barber, 33, and Japree Lortez Brooks, 22, all of Murfreesboro.