Danielle Locklear was a 15-year-old girl with her whole life in front of her. She had just started high school and even went to her first dance with her first boyfriend. But sadly, this whirlwind romance didn’t have a happy ending. The beautiful, impressionable freshman snuck out to meet her senior boyfriend and was never seen alive again.
Locklear was not only gorgeous but smart and vivacious. Everyone loved her… except one person, as it turned out. The high school sweethearts seemed like the typical teenage couple, but their relationship was much darker than anyone could have thought.
This is the case of Danielle Locklear.
Danielle’s mother, Rowna Flowler, described her daughter as “Mischievous, she was a firecracker.” “You always found her in something, but she was always one of those types where she never let anything pass her by.”
In the summer of 2013, Danielle Locklear was still a sparkly-eyed teenager, spending the hot months at her grandma’s house, two hours from her house in Hope Mills, North Carolina. She was surrounded by a big, loving family, including her grandparents and aunts.
According to her aunt Chena Simmons, Danielle had a big, bright smile and infectious laugh. “We felt that, OK, we have one more person here that didn’t mind getting her hands dirty and didn’t mind work.” After a summer at camp, Danielle was about to start her freshman year.
She got a lot closer to the friends she made that summer in Hope Mills and asked if she could attend high school up north and live with her grandma. She was excited to go to school with her friends, but there was one person, in particular, she was thrilled to be spending more time with: a handsome high school senior named Je’Michael Malloy.
“I thought he was a nice kid. I mean, he was quiet, very quiet, I guess around me, he was, because I’m the mom,” Rowna expressed to Crime Watch Daily. Chenna Simmons added, “he was introverted, but that was OK; it’s the makings, seemingly, of a very good and respectful kid.”
Danielle’s aunt Chena Papa saw Danielle glow whenever she was around her new boyfriend. She described how happy she was and fell head over heels in love. She even drew hearts all over her notebook and wrote “Je’Michael,” “Je’Michael Malloy,” and “Danielle Malloy.”
But Danielle wasn’t the only one looking for Malloy’s attention. His best friend Dominic Lock was a true ride-or-die friend. According to Hope Mills Deputy Police Chief David Servie, “Dominic Lock was Je’Michael’s best friend; they were tied at the hip. They had plans of doing the military together.
But now, Dominic was feeling a bit left out. He became the third wheel in Je’Michael and Danielle’s love story. Rowna described Dominic as someone who is kind of a pushover and easily persuaded: “His friend Dominic seems like a person that is easily told what to do.”
As you might have guessed by now, Danielle and Je’Michael didn’t have the healthiest romance. Like many other toxic relationships, the “ups” were good. They enjoyed home-cooked meals together at Danielle’s house and would talk on the phone every night.
But along with the high “ups” came deep “downs.” Danielle updated her Facebook status, saying: “I feel no love because some people are too busy with other friends to pay attention to their girlfriend.” Apparently, they broke up that Christmas but got back together the following week.
On-again-off-again relationships are not rare. In fact, they are pretty common in high school. Once they got back together, everything seemed fine. Well, that was until March 2014. Rowna was back home in Myrtle Beach, N.C., when she got the phone call every mother dreads.
“My sister said, ‘Danielle is missing.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean she’s missing?’” Ronda expressed. “I’m panicking. You know, when someone tells you your child is missing, you go into a whole other mode and get to my mom’s house, and apparently, she had left the house that night.”
The last person who saw Danielle was her grandfather. Rowna said, that she asked her stepfather if she could walk down the street to a neighbor to do homework or something, so he allowed her to leave but told her to hurry back.
They called the police and filed a missing-person’s report. At first, the family couldn’t even believe what was happening and thought she would come home. Chena Papa said, that for the next few days, everybody was praying and that maybe she did run away. Maybe they just didn’t know her as well as they thought.
Danielle’s Aunt Chena wouldn’t rest until she found her niece, so she started her own investigation. She began with a rumored secret place next to grandma’s house: “Where I’m living, where my home is in Hope Mills, there’s a creek back there that these school kids hang out, and I didn’t know it was a hangout back there.”
It was a teen hangout by day, but by night there was a creepy brush surrounding the muddy waters, which was hiding something much darker. The kids around the neighborhood whispered that it’s the last place Danielle Locklear was seen alive.
Chena went there and searched for Danielle. But it was a rather eerie experience: “I went there the next day around the same time and looked at the woods and said, ‘This is like a scene out of a horror movie,’ I wouldn’t even walk back there, and she voluntarily walked into the dark woods? No, no way.”
But what happened next sent chills down her spine. As Chena continued to search, she saw the word “HELP” scratched into the ground. She was hoping it was some kids playing a prank, but then she found another clue.
“As we’re exiting the trail, I look down, and I’m like, ‘This is her sock,’” Chena said. And it was rolled like it had rolled off a foot. The big question was: If the sock did belong to Danielle, where was the other one? Everyone in Hope Mills, North Carolina was frantically searching for 15-year-old Danielle Locklear.
The family had an unsettling feeling that whoever took her might be in their midst. The only clues they had to go on were the word “help” drawn into the mud and a single sock found by the creek the day after Danielle vanished.
According to Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West, “That was one of the first times in the case where there was a real concern that she was involved with foul play.” But these alarming clues didn’t lead to Danielle.
Long days turned to weeks, there was still no sign of the missing girl. That’s when Hope Mills Deputy Police Chief David Servie decided to ramp up the search and called in the FBI. There was nothing for Danielle’s broken-hearted family to do but wait, worry, and beg for their sweet baby’s safe return.
At every search party, Danielle’s family members would glance around, to see if anyone looked suspicious… including Je’Michael Malloy, Danielle’s high school boyfriend who loved her just as much as she loved him. To crack the case, everyone in Danielle’s life needed to be investigated.
Danielle’s mother said, “Je’Michael was at the search, balloon release, came by the house, hugging me. I cried on his shoulder, everything. You are looking at any and everyone.” He even gave his own strange advice based on Danielle’s apparent state of mind that night.
Je’Michael told Danielle’s aunt Chena Papa that she wanted to kill herself. Spoiler alert: She didn’t! More eyebrows were raised when he got specific, saying she wanted to drown herself in cold water. Papa said, ”First of all, she’s missing right now; why would you even think like that.”
Then, as all hope just seemed lost, an off-duty police officer called dispatch from a bridge not far from Danielle’s school near the South River on the Cumberland County line. He was driving by and had a strong intuitive feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
As it turned out, a detective from the Montgomery Sheriff’s Department was driving home when he looked out the window as he drove over the bridge and saw something that felt strange to him. It ended uo being Danielle.
After 23 long, exhausting days, the teen’s sludge-covered body was pulled from the water, bound by nylon tape tied to blocks. Servie explained, that when Danielle was taken out of the water, you immediately notice that there was rope tied around her waist and the cinderblocks.
It appeared as though the 25-pound blocks were a basic but failed attempt to weigh Danielle down in the muddy water. And for another gruesome detail: A single sock was forced into her mouth. As you might have guessed, the sock matched the one Danielle’s aunt found on the shore.
Servie said, “Asphyxiation was given as Danielle’s cause of death. During the autopsy, they found where a sock had been forced down Danielle’s throat.” It was such a terrible, horrific sight that even a veteran cop like David Servie was absolutely heartbroken at the scene.
On Crime Watch Daily, Servie explained how horrible the scene was. He couldn’t believe what they did to her. He immediately knew the damily wouldn’t be able to have any type of open casket with her body in that condition. Shortly after, Danielle’s mom got the devastating news.
Rawna explained how she got a call from the FBI that night. Right away, she knew it wasn’t going to be good news, and that’s when she was informed that they found a body. She knew they probably couldn’t answer her question but she asked them if it was Danielle. The FBI agent on the other end of the line didn’t say anything. Rowna knew.
Danielle’s lifeless body was examined, along with the rope and cinderblocks. Servie explained how he noticed the unique cinderblocks. He noted that they had small rocks and pebbles in them. He also stated that they were thin and something you would see in a really bizarre house.
The body’s location directed Servie where to look next. Less than a mile away from someone Danielle knew very well, her boyfriend, Je’Michael Malloy. “I learned a long time ago there’s no such thing as a coincidence,” Servie added. The following day, they had a search warrant to seach Je’Michael’s property.
Servie and his investigators took apart Je’Michael’s home, searching for anything that might connect him to Danielle’s murder. On his property, detectives found ropes that matched the ones that Danielle was tied in. And stacked next to the garage, they found the very unique cinderblocks with little pebbles — just like the ones at the lake.
Servie said that the second he saw those Conderblocks at Je’Michael’s house, he knew the got their guy. There was not a single doubt in his mind. Soon after, they found Danielle’s cellphone thrown into a highway nearby.
But that wasn’t all. Rowna Fowler said that there was a voicemail on there. While they were arguing he said to her that she comes around him, he will kill her. That sounds like a threat to me. So, did this teenage rant tell us the whole story?
Hope Mills Deputy Chief David Servie said that if it were, he would be freaking out about all the cops searching his home without a search warrant. But not Je’Michael Malloy. He had no care in the world. According to Servie, “he was just as cool as a cucumber.”
Servie added, “He began to ask questions about our police canine. ‘What kind of dog is it? How old is it? Can I play with him?’” But with physical evidence against Je’Michael Malloy, Chief Servie knew it was time to ask the boyfriend some tough questions.
They brought in his best friend Dominic Lock as well. Under the heat of the interrogation lights, the truth finally emerged. Je’Michael talked about how he broke up with Danielle for good at the creek that night. The last night Danielle Locklear was ever seen alive.
During his recorded interrogation, Je’Michael claims that they were fighting and suddenly, she stopped breathing and he freaked out. At the time of the incident, his best friend Dominic Lock was just 70 yards away. Lock told investigators that he was surprised when Je’Michael came running up from the creek alone.
Lock explained during his recorded interrogation session that after a short while, he came back and told his friend she was dead. When Lock asked him what the hell he was talking about, Je’Michael ran down there and Lock followed. He said she was just lyring there on her stomach.
Dominic admitted that he was still in utter shock when Je’Michael asked him to help with Danielle’s body: Je’Micahel was scared, telling his friend saying that Danielle wasn’t even supposed to be out that night and now she’s dead. Then he minupulated Lock telling him that if they don’t get rid of the body, they would both be charged with murder.
That’s when Dominic admitted that he helped Je’Michael move Danielle up the creek bed. Then, Je’Michael took over. He threw her in the car and quickly returned home where Je’Michael got the rope and cinderblocks, tied her up, and got rid of her in the river.
Je’Michael’s side of the story is that he freaked out when Danielle lied and told him she was pregnant. “I think to get his attention, I can’t say that she wanted him to stay with her other than that these were teenagers coming to the end of a relationship,” revealed Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West.
A baby just wasn’t in Je’Michael Malloy’s plans, so what did he decide to do? The only rational thing, of course… murder his teenage girlfriend. As you can imagine, Je’Michael was cold and emotionless.
“It was a very cold interview,” David Servie said. He explained that Je’Michael showed zero empathy for what he did. In fact, the only time Je’Michael got emotional, and even cried, was when he was talking about his potential military career which was now ruined. Servie explained there was no indication that he was sorry or felt guilty for murdering Danielle.
But Je’Michael’s matter-of-fact account doesn’t tell the full story of Danielle Locklear’s experience. That came from Danielle’s mourning mother, Rowna. She was the one who told Crime Watch Daily the devastating reality behind her daughter’s untimely death.
Rawnda heartbreakingly exlplained that the two were getting in a heated argument in the woods. As soon as she turned her back toward him, he choked her to death. Then he ran back to the car, told his friend she died, and the two of them got rid of her body.
But, what about the sock? Dominic told detectives that it was his one final act to silence Danielle. Rowna explained, “His friend said he could not stand the sound that my daughter’s body was making, I guess the gasses being expelled, and so they took her boots off and took a sock and shoved it in her mouth.”
So, basically, Je’Michael murdered his girlfriend in cold blood. “The car was like, smelling,” Dominic mentioned to detectives. “He said ‘Put the sock in her mouth.’” After silencing Danielle forever, there was just one more despicable act left.
After that, they threw her in the trunk, and got nylon rope and cinderblocks, according to Rowna. They tied two cinderblocks around her waist and her ankles. Then they took her to a dark river at night and just tossed her in there. How evil could a high school kid be?!
Je’Michael Malloy pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. As for Dominic Lock and his role in dumping Danielle’s body, he pleaded guilty to accessory to murder. “It’s a horrible story,” according to Dominic Lock’s public defender, Bernard Condlin.
The thing with Je’Michael is that he knew what he was doing was wrong. He also knew it was a crime while doing it. That’s the reason he excepted the plea deal. But before his sentencing, Je’Michael Malloy made one last attempt to save himself and apologized to Danielle’s heartbroken family.
“I know there’s nothing that I can do, or I can say that’s going to bring her back. But I do want to apologize for the actions that I have made. I know sorry doesn’t cut it,” Je’Michael revealed in court. He’s right. Sorry certainly doesn’t cut it.
Je’Michael Malloy was sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison, but he deserves much more. Dominic Lock was sentenced to only six years in the slammer. Danielle’s mother is left haunted by the tragic murder of her daughter.
“A lot of people, they’ll ask me ‘How do you get over it?’ You don’t. You just move on,” Rowna expressed. Danielle’s mother said her daughter’s killer sent her various letters from prison. She calls them garbage and left most of them unopened.
Je’Michael Malloy will be eligible for parole when he is 43 years old. Sadly, this isn’t the only case like this. It’s not uncommon for abusive relationships to end like this. The most tragic part is how young Danielle was. She will never have the chance to get married, have a career, or even graduate high school. She will forever be missed.