Sunday, August 14, 2022

Update: Rocky Point man arrested after third death investigation in Pender in less than six weeks

Daniel Lewis Willoughby, Sr. was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. (Courtesy PCSO)
Daniel Lewis Willoughby, Sr. was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. (Courtesy PCSO)

UPDATE (11:20 a.m.) — Daniel Lewis Willoughby, 67, of Rocky Point, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree murder.

According to the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to reports of gunshots at Willoughby’s residence, located at 82 Wild Turkey Trail, on May 3.

“Upon the arrival of deputies, a female victim was found outside of the residence with an apparent gunshot wound. Paramedics responded to the victim and attempted life saving measures. The victim, Carlene Brannon, 40, of Rocky Point was pronounced dead at the scene,” according to a PCSO release late Monday morning.

Willoughby is being held in the Pender County Jail under no bond at this time.

PENDER COUNTY — The Pender County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating another death, the third such investigation in less than six weeks and the second death that has taken place in Rocky Point.

Although minimal information was released, PCSO Chief Deputy Michael Collier said investigators are now “conducting an investigation of a death on [Sunday, May 3] which occurred at 82 Wild Turkey Trail” in Rocky Point.

RELATED: Questions surround death of Hannah Faith as Pender stays silent, citing ongoing investigation

“No details are being released at this time and further information will be released when it is available,” Collier said.

On March 26, a young woman named Hannah Faith, who had been reported missing just days before, was found dead in a trailer in north Hampstead. The next day, the PCSO said a body had been discovered that morning at Millers Pond Park near the New Hanover county line in Rocky Point.

Raymond Brooks of Bladen County makes his first appearance at the Pender County Superior Court as Sheriff Alan Cutler, right, points to where he will stand before Judge Lindsey McKee. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Raymond Brooks of Bladen County makes his first appearance at the Pender County Superior Court as Sheriff Alan Cutler, right, points to where he will stand before Judge Lindsey McKee. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

The body was later identified as Christopher Duane Stewart, 23, who was enrolled at the University of North Carolina Wilmington at the time of his death. He was a junior at the school, previously serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

After two suspects — a brother and sister from southern Bladen County — appeared in court on April 15, a third suspect turned himself in later that evening. District Attorney Ben David called the murder “especially heinous and atrocious and cruel” and death-penalty eligible under state law.

On April 19, Faith’s boyfriend was arrested for an armed robbery near the UNCW campus. Weeks before, on March 22, he had been pulled over by Surf City Police while driving Faith’s 2005 Buick while she was not inside the vehicle. Her last known contact with her family had occurred the previous Wednesday, on March 18.

The boyfriend, Micah Me’Nace Howard, had texted Faith’s grandmother the day before he was pulled over, telling her that Faith was with him and that she was alright, according to Faith’s mother. The PCSO has still not announced a cause of death in that case.

An abandoned trailer in north Hampstead where the body of Hannah Faith was found in late March. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
An abandoned trailer in north Hampstead where the body of Hannah Faith was found in late March. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

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