Local law enforcement may or may not still be looking for a person of interest in this week’s double homicide case.
Maj. Chris Thomas did not confirm or deny whether the person of interest with the case, 23-year-old Steven Jarrell McCarty, of Jacksonville, has come forward to speak with officers.
“We are still working on the case and we have nothing to release to the media today,” Thomas said Friday afternoon.
When the deaths of Deandre, 19, and Tyler Gilbert, 16, both of Jacksonville were announced alongside their mug shots on Thursday the Onslow County community had a lot to say – some in defense of the boys and some giving their opinions on how a prior record could reflect their manner of death.
Deandre and Tyler were last heard from on Saturday, according to their loved ones, and after days of questions their bodies were found Wednesday, yards apart from each other, on a no-named dirt road off Hardy Graham Road in Maple Hill by a sheriff’s detective and N.C. Wildlife officer, The Daily News reported.
Those close to the slain brothers remember them as good kids.
Although she’s read a lot of comments online by people “bashing” the boys, some of whom never knew Deandre or Tyler, 16-year-old Richlands High School student Jenna McIntire, said “they weren’t bad kids at all.”
“Nowadays, people are so judgmental,” she said. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
McIntire was closer with Tyler because of their shared age and said the two spent time walking on the beach or at parks together, movie nights at home and general “best friend bonding time,” she said.
“We were really close. We used to always see each other ... we used to run and hug each other,” McIntire said.
She said it was a comfortable friendship and some weekends were spent with a small group around a bonfire, sharing stories throughout the evening before heading back into town to grab a bite to eat.
Those bonfires were held on that same private land where the boys’ bodies were found, McIntire said.
Wednesday, when The Daily News was reporting about two bodies being found, McIntire said she’d fallen asleep and woke up to a long list of messages on her phone.
“Before it was out there everybody suspected,” McIntire said, saying that with two boys missing days before two bodies were found, people instantly believed it was Deandre and Tyler who had been found.
“I didn’t want to believe it,” she said. “It really sent me into shock. I never expected something like that to happen. I’m still in shock now.”
Tyler had a scheduled court date May 25 for two misdemeanor charges of possessing marijuana up to a half an ounce and marijuana paraphernalia, according to the N.C. Court System online. There was no information found online about Deandre.
McIntire said she knew about the drug charges and talked to Tyler about it, telling him she knew a lot of kids were doing it now but it wasn’t worth getting in trouble and it could lead to more. McIntire said she doesn’t approve of drugs and wouldn’t have spent time with someone who was wrapped up in them.
“(Drugs) shouldn’t have to define who you are and the people that you hang around with,” she said.
Other than her small group of friends – Deandre and Tyler included – McIntire said she doesn’t talk to many people.
McIntire reminisced, remembering the bonfire nights, the movie nights, the walks outside with Tyler.
“I honestly wish kids were more like that these days,” she said.