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Crime News Murders

"You Ripped Our Hearts Out": North Carolina Couple Charged in Connection with Teen's Murder After Online Date

Joshua Newton and Victoria Smith have been charged in the killing of 18-year-old Jacob Williamson, who friends say was transitioning to become a male and was previously known as Kierstyn.

By Dorian Geiger
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A North Carolina couple has been jailed on charges connected with the killing of a South Carolina 18-year-old who vanished after an online date late last month. 

Joshua Netwon, 25, was charged with first-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the disappearance and death of Kierstyn Williamson, the Union County Sheriff’s Office announced on July 5. His girlfriend, Victoria Smith, 22, is charged with obstruction of justice, and accessory after the fact, in the teenager’s murder.

Some family friends told local media that Williamson was in the process of transitioning to become a male, and went by the name Jacob.

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Williamson was reported missing on June 30 and was last seen alive by family and friends, investigators said. On July 4, authorities found Williamson’s body on Mangum School Road in Pageland, South Carolina. The remains were later positively identified.

Detectives allege that Newton drove to a restaurant Williamson worked at in Laurens, South Carolina, and picked the 18-year-old up after the pair had met online, Charlotte television station WSOC reported. They said he later drove Williamson across state lines, more than 100 miles away, to his house Monroe, North Carolina. Williamson’s body was ultimately located a few miles from Newton’s home, according to the outlet.

Mugshots of Victoria Smith and Joshua Newton

According to investigators, Newton killed Williamson, and Smith, his girlfriend, allegedly assisted him in hiding the corpse. 

“I think they had planned on meeting up and spend some time together on a date and that’s where [Williamson] met him. That was the plan,” Union County Lt. James Maye said. “And unfortunately, ended in the loss of [Williamson’s] life.”

Law enforcement hasn’t disclosed how Williamson may have died or a possible motive in the open case. 

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim in this case as they begin to mourn this unimaginable loss,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. “Over the past several days, the men and women of the Union County Sheriff’s Office have fully dedicated themselves to this case and ensuring the people responsible for this tragic loss were brought to justice.”

Williamson’s murder has stunned loved ones. 

“You don’t just go out of town one day and decide one day, ‘I’m going to go out of town pick somebody up and kill them,” Williamson's uncle, Chad Bible said, according to WSOC. “That doesn’t just pop into your head.

“Why? What did it do? What did you prove? You’re throwing your life away, and you ripped our hearts out," Bible added.

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“This world was so cruel to Jacob his entire life,” Williamson’s friend, Promise Edwards told WBTV. “I find peace in knowing that in the last month and a half, he found peace.”

The case remains open and active. No other information was released by authorities. 

Anyone with additional information related to Williamson’s alleged murder is urged to contact the Union County Sheriff’s Office by calling 704-283-3789 or Union County Crime Stoppers at 704-283-5600.

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