• 46°

Teen’s text message helps unravel grisly Statesville crime

Charged with murder

Gary Stephen Love

Gary Stephen Love

STATESVILLE (AP) — A text message to a friend guided rescuers to a teen girl held captive in the North Carolina home where her mother was also slain.

Authorities say Gary Love of Wadsworth, Ohio, held the 14-year-old captive for days and killed her mother in a grisly crime revealed after the girl was rescued Monday.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Wednesday that authorities were adding counts against him including felony sex offenses with a child, kidnapping and assault on a female. He had already been charged with murder in the mother’s death.

The friend who notified authorities, 13-year-old Savannah Evans, tells WSOC-TV that she woke up Monday to see the unsettling text message from her friend. She said that she and her grandmother called deputies to ask for help.

One of the text messages, which Evans showed to WSOC, stated: “call 911 me and my mom need help FAST!!”

The Associated Press is not identifying the girl or her mother because the suspect is accused of sex crimes.

Savannah Evans’ mother, Stephanie Evans, told the station that she’s shocked by what happened.

“Can’t believe this. It is something out of the movies,” she said.

After the girl was rescued, the teen sent her friend a message saying she was a “lifesaver.”

“That really broke my heart,” Stephanie Evans said.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release that deputies went to the victims’ home about 7:30 a.m. Monday after receiving the call from the friend.

Love told investigators that the mother and daughter were at a funeral but fled out the back door when pressed for more details, according to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested soon afterward.

Deputies found the woman’s body. The daughter told deputies she had been tied up and held at the home since Christmas Eve, which was the last time she saw her mother. She was treated at a local hospital and is staying with relatives.

Love, 47, has been in North Carolina for about 90 days, according to the sheriff. Authorities say he knew the slain woman from a time when both lived in New York years ago.

The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said that Love faces an outstanding domestic violence arrest warrant from Ohio where that victim also had a protective order against him. Love is being held without bond.

Comments

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Local

Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education

News

After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday

High School

Carson rolls over South 41-0 as about 600 allowed in to see season opener for both

Education

East Spencer after school program looks toward opening, nonprofit status

Lifestyle

Frank Ramsey inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

College

Livingstone’s Stoutamire inducted into 2021 CIAA Hall of Fame

Nation/World

J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

13 deaths reported in Rowan, county stresses need to receive second dose

Coronavirus

10% of Rowan residents receive first dose; eight COVID-19 deaths reported this week

News

North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander to retire

Education

UNC School of the Arts may go for online learning due to COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus

Greensboro site to administer 3,000 daily vaccine doses starting March 10

Nation/World

Update: $1.9 trillion relief bill passes House, moves on to Senate

Nation/World

Lady Gaga’s dogs recovered safely

Coronavirus

Update: FDA follows advisers’ recommendation, OKs single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from J&J

Local

Post wins 18 N.C. Press Association Awards

Education

Cooper vetoes bill that would force K-12 schools to reopen

Local

Lanning named Spencer’s fire chief