Police say that a little over an hour after high school teens Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson were killed behind a Publix supermarket on early Monday morning in Roswell, Georgia, suspect Jeffrey Hazelwood used the teen girl’s debit card at a convenience store.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that detectives placed Hazelwood’s cellphone at the murder scene and a nearby store, which, according to Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant, “led us to the suspect and once we identified him, everything fell into place.” Hazelwood’s white Honda Passport, with previous damage to the front bumper, was captured on surveillance video, and has since been seized for evidence. According to Grant,
“Actually there were two crime scenes, and we’ve been able to identify one phone number to both scenes….A cellphone number is unique to a particular user and in this case, it led us to the suspect. Once we identified him (Hazelwood), um, everything just fell into place.”
Although there was speculation that Hazelwood may have once dated Henderson, none of her friends recognized him or even knew his name. Hazelwood’s Instagram page shows that he’s dating someone, but it wasn’t Natalie. Former Roswell High School color guard coach Joey Taylor, who once coached Natalie, said that every girl on the team that she questioned had no idea who Hazelwood was.
“Everyone I’ve talked to closest to Natalie has no idea who that guy is.”
Meanwhile, Julio Avendaño, 21, knew the suspect when they both attended the Alternative Youth Academy, a school in Alpharetta that has since been closed down after the owner was accused of fraud of up to $300,000. Avendaño said that Hazelwood was strange, and he didn’t feel comfortable by simply standing beside him.
“This kid just didn’t seem normal. You could feel he was strange when you stood next to him.”
JUST IN: Roswell police release new mugshot for Jeffrey Hazelwood, charged with murder of 2 Roswell teens. pic.twitter.com/nVO6OHaxyD— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) August 4, 2016
Hazelwood apparently spent up to 12 hours a day at the youth academy, but left after he grew his hair, something that wasn’t allowed at the cadet-style school. Many kids at the school, who were there for various infractions, including gang affiliation, theft, and drugs, said that Hazelwood was a bit of a loner, and mostly kept to himself. His grandmother, however, often baked cookies and snacks for the students, and became a staple at the school. According to Avendaño,
“We all loved her there. Who wouldn’t love a lady like her? She was like an angel. Even the bad kids liked her, like me.”
Avendaño was sent to the school for gang affiliation, something that landed him in jail, and ultimately, at the academy.
Hazelwood’s parents split up when he was just an infant, and he’s been primarily raised by his maternal grandparents.
Both victims were well known at their school, River Ridge High School in Woodstock, where Henderson participated in color guard and Davis was an all-star Lacrosse player. Both victims’ social media pages are now flooded with sympathetic messages from friends and loved ones who remember them both as nice, ambitious students who had bright futures ahead of them. One of Natalie’s classmates wrote,
“She’s not only a friend but she’s like a sister to me and I’m going to miss her so much. Carter just the same, for I didn’t know him well, but in the few times I got to hang out with him he seemed like a great young man.”
Jeffrey Hazelwood was previously held at the Roswell Detention Center but was transferred over to the Fulton County jail on Thursday. He’s charged with two felony counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of theft by taking, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and one count of identity theft.
[Photo by Roswell Police Department]