Ask Us: What is the status of trio charged in 2019 murder of Rowan teen?

Published 6:08 pm Monday, April 4, 2022

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

SALISBURY — A reader asked for an update on the three individuals charged in the 2019 murder of 19-year-old Michael Earley.

Almost three years ago, the Rockwell teen was beaten to death before his body was dismembered, partially burned and buried.

Carlos Rosas, who is 22 but was 19 at the time, was charged with murder and concealment of a death. Rosas and Earley got into an argument during a prearranged drug deal, at which point Rosas allegedly beat Earley to death with a metal bat, according to search warrants. Earley’s remains were burned and buried in the yard of Rosas’ home. Rosas remains in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond while awaiting trial, according to the detention center’s website.

Lauren Grimes, 22, was charged with felony accessory after the fact and also remains in jail under a $300,000 secured bond. Madison Harrington, also charged with felony accessory after the fact, was released on a $500,000 secured bond shortly after being charged in 2019. Rowan County Sheriff’s Office detectives said Harrington and Grimes helped Rosas move and dispose of Earley’s body.

The cases against Rosas, Grimes and Harrington are currently pending. Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said she could not comment on the cases, pursuant to the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. Jury trials at the Rowan County Courthouse were put on hold for about a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a backlog of cases. Cook told the Post her office was not permitted to proceed with any jury trials involving inmates until May 2021.

Earley’s family members protested Harrington’s release outside of the courthouse in November 2019. During the protest, Michael Earley’s mom, Jessica Earley, condemned Harrington’s release.

“You can kill someone, you can cut them up, you can burn them, and you pay half a million and get to go home. And that’s wrong,” she said.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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