Child’s death now ruled homicide

Sherry Matthews Editor

September 20, 2013

An 11-year-old Salemburg girl found dead in her home Sept. 6 was murdered. That word came from Sampson Sheriff’s Capt. Julian Carr late Thursday afternoon, noting that while he could only provide limited details about the case at this point, the investigation had developed far enough for officers to rule the death a homicide.

“I’m not able to say much more than that at this time,” Carr said, stressing that the probe was ongoing.

The cause of death has not been released pending further investigation.

McKenzie Smith was found dead in her Hairr Drive home early Friday morning, Sept. 6, and since that time, all officers would say about the incident was that her death was suspicious.

Sheriff’s officers were called to the mobile home that Friday morning by 911 communicators who alerted them that a child was unresponsive at the residence. When officers arrived, they found the child dead.

Since that time, investigators, including members of the State Bureau of Investigation, have been interviewing witnesses and talking to people in the area, trying to piece together what might have happened inside the home.

Earlier this week Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Barr said that the child’s death was not a natural one nor accidental in his opinion.

“It’s a homicide,” Barr said. “There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”

Carr said further details about the incident would be released once the probe was complete.

The sheriff’s captain did urge anyone who might have information about the incident to call the Sheriff’s Department at 910-592-4141.