By Steve Reed
BENSON — Family and friends remembered Sara Hill, the 14-year-old victim in a Sept. 24 murder-suicide near Angier during a Sunday memorial service at Rose & Graham Funeral Home.
Hill’s mother, Tena, declined an interview request via social media, stating that it’s something her family “can’t handle right now.”
Tena Hill did say about the media coverage, “so much of what is on the news is wrong,”
“They were not boyfriend and girlfriend, she had a boyfriend” Hill wrote. “They were just friends. He was depressed. She went over to help and he shot her.”
Johnston County sheriff’s Capt. Joe Caldwell said deputies were dispatched at 5:31 p.m. Monday, Sept 24 and responded to a shooting incident at 206 Clayton Road.
“Upon arrival of deputies, it was determined two teenagers were deceased inside the residence,” said Caldwell. “Both teens, one male and one female, were 14 years old. The male lived at the residence.”
Johnston County Public Schools spokeswoman Crystal Roberts said West Johnston High School counselors were on standby for students and staff who may have wanted to talk, “given the tragedy that occurred in the community.”
“Anytime a serious incident or tragedy occurs in or around a school community, our counselors are deployed and remain on campus to lend assistance to students and staff,” said Roberts. “We also have a county grief counseling team that is deployed when necessary.”
A search warrant application to Johnston County Superior Court identified the 14-year-old boy as Matthew DeChristo. Hill’s identity was obtained through social media and she was homeschooled.
After obtaining the search warrant, deputies seized various items from the home including a rifle with a magazine and unfired cartridges, unfired cartridges, fired cartridge cases, cellphones and accessories, a backpack and contents, miscellaneous papers, pieces of drywall and a fired projectile.
According to an incident report released to the Johnstonian News, no alcohol or drugs were involved in the deaths. Caldwell said detectives, along with the state medical examiner’s office, determined the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide.
Deputies on Thursday released an audio recording of the 911 call in which the girl’s distraught father requested assistance. The dispatcher can be heard trying to calm the father and determine what happened.
The Hill family is asking for support to defray funeral expenses. Contributions can be sent to Rose & Graham Funeral Home, P.O. Box 10, Benson, NC 27504.