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Crime News Breaking News

Police Seek Missing North Carolina Woman After Boyfriend Allegedly Found Driving Her Car

No one has seen missing Fayetteville-area woman essica Lawrence in nearly a month, since she was supposed to be leaving on a trip with her boyfriend.

By Megan Carpentier
Boyfriend Found With Missing Woman's Car, Authorities Say

Investigators in North Carolina are conducting searches for a missing woman whose disappearance they've termed "suspicious."

Jessica Lawrence, 42, was last seen on Sunday, Sept. 26 at her home in Saint Pauls, North Carolina, about 15 miles south of Fayetteville, where she worked at the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Police believe she drove home from work that day in her gray 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A neighbor and friend, Linda Locklear, told CBS affiliate WNCN in Raleigh-Durham that Sept. 26 was the last time she saw Lawrence or her SUV, when Lawrence mentioned plans to go to the nearby town of Pembroke — about 18 miles southwest of St. Pauls — with her boyfriend, Michael Brayboy, 42.

According to Locklear, when her friend failed to pay rent in early October, Locklear and the landlord went in the home to check on Lawrence.

"We saw stains on the wall and stains on the curtain and a bloody sock on the floor," she told WNCN about their fateful Oct. 12 welfare check.

Lawrence was reported as missing to the Robeson County Sheriff on Oct. 12. At that time, they said she was last seen driving her SUV.

On Oct. 14, according to the sheriff's office, a deputy spotted Lawrence's SUV in Red Springs — 13 miles west of Saint Pauls — and executed a traffic stop. Brayboy, who is listed as a resident of Rowland (30 miles south of Saint Pauls) was driving, authorities said. 

Brayboy was arrested for failure to report a change of address by a sex offender, and held on a $1.5 million bond. His sex offender registration lists him as a resident of Lumberton, North Carolina — 13 miles south of Saint Pauls — not Rowland, as of Aug. 11. He was released from prison on July 29, 2020, after serving nearly 23 years for first-degree rape and a first-degree sex offense. His victim was 17 and he was 18 at the time.

"We have reason to believe foul play is involved," Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said in a statement on Oct. 15. "Obviously, we can’t discuss details of where the investigation is at this point but many leads have been established and evidence has been obtained."

On Monday, the sheriff issued another statement that they were focusing their search for Lawrence in Rowland, with the assistance of the North Carolina Search and Rescue Teams from state Emergency Management, and that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Aviation Division were assisting in the investigation.

On Tuesday, the Sheriff's office confirmed to WNCN that they'd found a cell phone during that search and were attempting to ascertain whether it belonged to Lawrence.

Investigators have asked that anyone who saw Brayboy and/or Lawrence's vehicle around Sept. 26 or 27 to come forward.