Death and tragedy in Rowan County were common threads that drew the most readers on the Post’s website in 2013.
But a wounded soldier from Rowan County who greeted his fellow soldiers upon their return from duty and a late-night stop by Justin Bieber in Salisbury also garnered interest, drawing readers around the world.
1) Man reported shot in western Rowan (Dec. 2)
Marco Kauffman was found in his car with a bullet wound to his head. Investigators say Kauffman and his wife had interrupted a break-in at their home in western Rowan County before the shooting. Four men are now charged in the case.
2) Four killed in SUV crash in Spencer (Jan. 18)
Two adults and two children were initially reported dead when an SUV with nine people in it hit a tree and caught fire on South Rowan Avenue near 11th Street. The number of deaths later reached six, including three adults and three children.
3) Standing order: Wounded soldier follows through on goal to greet his returning platoon (Jan. 17)
Tyler Jeffries was flown by Veterans Airlift Command from Concord to Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., to be the first to greet members of his unit when they returned from duty in Afghanistan. Though an enemy explosive tore through both of his legs during a mission, Jeffries wanted to stand with his fellow soldiers at their homecoming.
4) Five dead in crash; family of one victim visits site (Jan. 17)
Kenny Cathcart of Salisbury visited the scene where an SUV with nine people in it had crashed. The collision killed his daughter, Da’Ja, and her mother, Angela Dunlap.
5) Computer-generated image shows what Erica Parsons may look like (Aug. 21)
A computer-generated image distributed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was released the day after Casey and Sandy Parsons, the adoptive parents of missing Rowan County teen Erica Parsons, told talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw they’re not concerned for her safety because they believe she is with her grandmother.
6) Pop star Justin Bieber rocks photo shoot in Spencer, eats in Salisbury (Jan. 22)
A little late-night dining captured the eyes of local fans. Bieber, said to be one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, was in Spencer for a Teen Vogue photo shoot at the N.C. Transportation Museum when his entourage wheeled off Interstate 85 for dinner at the Waffle House.
7) Driver charged in fatal accident involving West student (Oct. 17)
Barbara Harrison Smith was charged with felony passing a stopped school bus causing death after Makinzy Jordan Smith, 17, a West Rowan High School junior, was hit by a car. Smith was crossing Woodleaf Road to board his stopped school bus when he was hit. The flashing stoplights and the stop sign on the bus were both activated.
8) Officials: Body on interstate was Kannapolis teen (Feb. 26)
The body of a 14-year-old Kannapolis boy who apparently committed suicide was found on Interstate 85.
9) Marcus Kauffman dies; two charged with murder (Dec. 20)
Marcus Kauffman was in intensive care at Carolinas Medical Center since he shot after interrupting a break-in at his home. His family decided to remove life support after tests determined brain activity had ended. His death led to an escalation in the charges against four men charged in the case. Kauffman’s funeral was on Monday.
10) Ronnie Gallagher, Post sports editor, dies suddenly (Aug. 30)
The Ol’ Sports Editor Ronnie Gallagher died suddenly at home. Gallagher, 57, became sports editor in 1997 after working 21/2 years as a sports writer. Gallagher began his sports career in 1980 at the Lexington Dispatch before becoming sports editor of the Davie County Enterprise.
Gallagher was passionate about making coverage of Rowan County sports the best in the state.
11) Hammer, teeth among items seized in new search in Erica Parsons case (Aug. 21)
Investigators searched a storage shed on land owned by the parents of missing teen Erica Parsons’ adoptive father.
They seized teeth, a hammer, a videotape pieces of a vacuum cleaner and school records for Sandy and Casey Parsons from the shed at 270 Sutton Road in China Grove, according to warrants.
Although the red storage shed is behind the home of William Parsons, the search warrant said, only Sandy and Casey Parsons have access to the locked building.
12) One killed, another injured in Clancy Hills shooting (July 29)
Residents were wakened by gunfire about 4:30 a.m. Eric Maurice Feamster, 27, was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds to his chest. He later died.
Kevin Rashee Toomer, 24, of 912 Fairmont Ave., Salisbury, was charged in the shooting the following month.
13) China Grove man charged with murder, held without bond after death of girlfriend (June 9)
Roxanne Fowler Maddry, 48, was found in the Poplar Street home of Wayne Eugene Hill, 55, in China Grove.
Hill, a well-known karate instructor, and Maddry had dated for years, but police say there was no history of domestic violence in their relationship.
14) Warrants say adoptive parents abused Erica Parsons, investigators testing stains for blood (Aug. 15)
Erica Parsons, the missing teenage girl from Rowan County, was “routinely abused” by her adoptive parents before she disappeared two years ago, according to allegations in a warrant.
Investigators searched the Parsonses’ home and took items including a piece of drywall and baseboards with red stains that were found in a closet.
15) Police chief: Hunter’s legacy will live on (April 18)
Salisbury Police Sgt. Mark Hunter, 51, died of an apparent heart attack. He served on the police department for more than 20 years as a patrol officer and drug investigator.
16) Man found dead on River Road identified (Nov. 6)
J.D. Furr, 87, was found in the yard of his River Road home. His daughter, Sandra Steen, 62, was also found with serious injuries. Furr’s grandson, Jeff Steen, 40, of 807 Lauras Lane, Albemarle, was charged 16 days later with murder, attempted murder and one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon.
17) Motorcycle crash takes life of Daniel Wyrick (May 28)
Daniel Wyrick, 28, the husband of a young mother who died of cancer two months earlier, was killed when his motorcycle hit a culvert.
The Wyricks were in the news in the spring when Cheryl, who had terminal cancer, told family members she wished she could take a final family vacation with Daniel and the children. The community raised more than $20,000 to send the family on a trip to Disney World.
18) Two Cleveland cousins identified as shooting victims (July 22)
Daniel Carlton Redman, 21, and William Thomas Redman, 20 — cousins from Cleveland — were found dead from gunshot wounds inside a pickup outside a home on Hildebrand Road.
In October, Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook decided not to file criminal charges in the case. Cook said the cousins drove with three other men to a home on Mountain Road, intending to confront Darren Sharpe. In the ensuing dispute, investigators said someone from the pickup fired on Roy Brooks, who lives next door to Sharpe, and Brooks fired back.
19) Woman found dead in Calhoun Street apartment; man claims he stabbed her (May 23)
Tony Lamont Luther, 40, walked into the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office and told staff he had stabbed a woman he knew. Police went to his apartment on Calhoun Street, off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and found the body of Tasha Nicole West, 28.
20) 11-year-old’s family mourns after suicide, blames bullying at school (Oct. 4)
Family members of Daniel Safrit, 11, spoke publicly about their son’s death, blaming his suicide on bullying they say he experienced at school. The boy’s family members hope the tragedy will lead to a broader campaign to end bullying and warn other parents about the toll bullying takes.
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