Couple accused in murder of missing pregnant NC woman

Couple accused of murdering missing pregnant woman

RALEIGH, N.C. — Two people are accused of the murder of a pregnant North Carolina woman whose body was found inside a suitcase, authorities said.

Thomas Clayton Johnson, 37, and Emmalei Grace Trevathan, 24, were arrested by Wake County deputies during a traffic stop Wednesday in Raleigh, WNCN reported. They were charged in the death of Brittany Samone Smith, 28, who was pregnant and had been missing since Feb. 4, the television station reported.

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Both are facing charges of murder, murder of an unborn child and concealment of a body, according to WNCN.

Deputies did not say how they arrived at charges against Johnson and Trevathan.

According to the sheriff’s office, the state medical examiner’s office positively identified the body as Smith’s.

Couple Arrested, Charged in Murder of Missing Woman On Monday, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office opened a homicide...

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The search for Smith began over the weekend. Search crews discovered her body Monday morning, WNCN reported. Wake County sheriff’s deputies and Raleigh police officers responded to the scene, WRAL reported.

According to the medical examiner’s office, Smith died by strangulation, the sheriff’s office said during its news conference.

“It’s safe to say that this is no accident,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said at a news conference.

“No one deserves to die like that,” said Dale Williams, a friend of Smith, told WNCN. “Frightened, in pain, and alone.”

In the hours after the discovery of Smith’s body, Wake County Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant on Williams’ home in Wendell.

Williams said deputies were not interested in what was inside of his home, but focused outside, where Smith and her boyfriend, Cody Page, had been living in a tent for months.

“I didn’t have the means to put her up inside,” Williams told WNCN. “This certainly beats living under a bridge.”

When Smith disappeared, Williams said Page was devastated.

“Cody loved her very much,” Williams told the television station.

Deputies questioned Page after Smith’s disappearance, but he was not considered a suspect, the sheriff’s office said.