Authorities are studying ATM surveillance images that appear to capture at least one person, and perhaps a second, wanted for questioning in the murder last week of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson.
Chapel Hill police distributed black-and-white photos Saturday of a young man trying to use Carson's ATM card at a drive-up machine in the Chapel Hill area. A careful analysis of the photographs reveals what could be the outline of a second person wearing dark clothing in the back seat of the vehicle.
"Questions have surfaced about an individual possibly seated in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle," Chapel Hill police said in a statement. "We do believe there is a second unidentified male seated in the rear seat. We have been exploring ways to enhance the quality of this photo in an effort to learn more about this person."
Authorities are also trying to confirm whether the vehicle the young man was driving was the 2005 Toyota Highlander that belonged to the 22-year-old student.
The car, parked on a Chapel Hill roadway, was recovered Thursday afternoon by Chapel Hill police, a day after Carson's body was found about a mile away just off the UNC campus. Carson had been shot several times, including once in the temple, police said.
The driver of the car is a black male in his late teens or early 20s, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, gloves and a Houston Astros baseball cap. "This is our strongest lead right now, and we are hopeful that we'll be able to get this guy identified," Curran said this weekend.
Authorities hope that someone saw Carson's car between 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning -- the last time any of Carson's friends saw her alive -- and midday Thursday, when the car was recovered. After responding to a report of shots fired around 5 a.m. Wednesday, authorities found Carson lying in the middle of an intersection, dead.
The UNC board of trustees has pledged a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
A memorial service was held Sunday at the Athens First United Methodist Church in Carson's hometown of Athens, Ga. Thousands of students gathered on campus last week to pay tribute to the slain student body president and aspiring doctor who spent summers volunteering in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana.
"I actually met her in the sixth grade, and she was the first person who ever spoke to me in my homeroom class," said Carrin Daniels, who was among those mourning Carson's death. "I honestly feel like Eve was a person who could change the world."
Another Murdered Student Is Mourned
Just 80 miles away, a second Georgia family was burying Lauren Burk, an 18-year-old college student who was killed near Auburn University's Alabama campus a few hours before the shooting in North Carolina.
Hundreds of friends and families came to Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, Ga., to say goodbye to Burk, a freshman pregraphics major and sorority sister, whose body was discovered along an Auburn, Ala., road last Tuesday night, a half hour before her car was found in an Auburn parking lot engulfed in flames.
"I'm devastated that such a sweet person was taken away in this way," friend Emily Sachs said. "I can't believe that she's gone."
Authorities in the Burk investigation arrested 23-year-old Courtney Lockhart, an Iraq War veteran accused in a string of robberies across Alabama, Friday night in Phenix City, Ala., about 30 miles from Auburn.
Lockhart's mother, Catherine Williams, apologized to Burk's friends and family for her son's alleged crime in an interview with Columbus, Ga., TV station WTVM. "First, let me say I'm sorry to the Burke family for Courtney taking their child," she said, adding that her son has not confessed to the killing, but his behavior changed when he returned from a tour in Iraq.
The Army confirmed that Lockhart served in Iraq from August 2004 to July 2005. He was court-martialed in August 2006 and found guilty of "communicating a threat, assault and use of marijuana," according to Army officials. Lockhart was discharged from the Army after serving seven months in a military prison.
Saturday, authorities announced that Lockhart would be charged with capital murder during a kidnapping, capital murder during a robbery and capital murder during an attempted rape.
"Task force members had developed Lockhart as a suspect and were attempting to establish his identity when Phenix City Police took him into custody on an unrelated offense," according to a release from the Auburn police.
Authorities said Friday that a gas can was recovered in downtown Auburn that might have been used to ignite Burk's vehicle.