• 72°

Rockwell teen murdered over marijuana deal, sheriff says; 2 women charged with accessory

SALISBURY — Michael Elijah Earley was killed Sunday night after a disagreement during a prearranged drug transaction, according to detectives with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

After the 19-year-old was murdered, his body was partially dismembered and his remains buried in a secluded area in the county, Sheriff Kevin Auten said Thursday.

Carlos Rosas Jr., also 19, of Percy Lane in Rockwell, was charged Wednesday night with felony murder and concealment of a death. He remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under no bond.

Carlos Rosas, Jr.

Detectives also charged Madison Drew Harrington, 18, of the 5400 block of Fish Pond Road, with felony accessory to murder after the fact.

According to an arrest warrant, Harrington assisted in dismembering Earley’s body and concealed the crime. She remains in the Rowan County jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Madison Drew Harrington

Detectives also charged 19-year-old Lauren Grimes, of the 200 block of Balfour Quarry Road, Granite Quarry, with felony accessory after the fact. According to an arrest warrant, Grimes helped conceal the crime scene and hide Earley’s remains.

Grimes is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $500,000 secured bond.

Lauren Carmel Grimes

Rowan detectives said the two women were present during the drug transaction.

Auten said Thursday during a news conference that Earley was last seen at 10 p.m. Sunday when he was meeting Rosas.

Earley was selling marijuana to Rosas and a disagreement led to a struggle, Auten said.

After Rosas allegedly killed Earley, he took the body to a secluded location and partially dismembered the body, then buried Earley’s remains, Auten said.

A relative of Earley said the family is obviously distraught. The teen died over 7 grams of marijuana, the relative said, adding, “A little bit of pot will get you killed.”

Auten echoed that, saying the motive appears to stem from the sale of a small amount of marijuana that went “haywire.”

Auten said detectives believe the women knew both men and made the connection. Rosas and Earley apparently did not know each other. The sheriff said they met the day of the transaction. He could not say whether Rosas and Earley had exchanged messages before their meeting.

Auten would not disclose where Earley was killed but said detectives have a couple of active crime scenes and believe they know the location.

He said there are questions about whether Rosas is affiliated with any gangs and about his immigration status. Auten said investigators will check his immigration status but the murder investigation is the priority.

Auten did not provide details about how Rosas was developed as a suspect. He said two families have been ruined — the Earleys will have to bury a son, and the Rosas will potentially see one go to prison.

Alvero Luna, who lives next door to Rosa’s home with his father and girlfriend, said Thursday he’d seen from six to 10 law enforcement vehicles at the home. He said investigators were there for several hours.

As to the demeanor of Rosas, Luna said he did speak to him on occasion. He said Rosas and his family just moved into the neighborhood.

Other neighbors, who didn’t want to provide their names, said they believe Rosas had lived there with his family since the early part of the year.

Rosas, Harrington and Grimes are expected in court Friday for first-appearance hearings.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

Comments

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry officials will request correction to 2020 Census count

Local

Salisbury city manager describes short-term solutions for firefighter pay concerns

Education

17 rackets donated to Erwin Middle School tennis teams

Local

Spencer town hall project at Park Plaza moving along

Nation/World

‘Soul-crushing’: US COVID-19 deaths are topping 1,900 a day

Nation/World

White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants

Nation/World

House OKs debt and funding plan, inviting clash with GOP

Nation/World

China, US unveil separate big steps to fight climate change

Local

Charlotte-based developer chosen for Empire Hotel project

Coronavirus

COVID-19 deaths in Rowan grow to 378 since start of pandemic

Coronavirus

375 employees noncompliant with Novant Health’s vaccination requirement

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 21

Local

Salisbury woman wins $200,000 from scratch-off ticket

Local

Commissioners approve incentive agreement for ‘I-85 Commerce Center’ on Webb Road

Education

State Employees Credit Union commits $1.5 million to new Partners in Learning center

Local

Salisbury council to discuss grant for thermal cameras, reconsider rezoning for future Goodwill store

Elections

Early voting for 2021 municipal elections begin Oct. 14

Nation/World

COVID has killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu

Nation/World

US officials defend expulsion of Haitians from Texas town

Nation/World

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 fatalities bring September death toll to 27

Business

New ambulance company moves into Rowan County, filling need as COVID hospitalizations remain high

Crime

Blotter: Woman’s car shot several times on Pinehurst Street in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19