Authorities in San Pedro, California, arrested a 38-year-old man, identified as Michael Allen Joyner, in connection with the deaths of his wife, Michelle, 36, and his 63-year-old father, Dennis Ray Joyner. WNCN reports that the pair were found hacked to death with an ax inside of their Wilson County home in North Carolina.
At around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office received a call to conduct a welfare check on Dennis after he failed to show up for work, which his employer considered “unusual.” When deputies arrived at the home located on 4104 Evansdale Road, they knocked on the door several times, but there was no response.
Deputies proceeded to look through a bedroom window and discovered a female toddler inside, alive, which prompted authorities to force their way into the home. They soon discovered the bodies of Michelle, the toddler’s mother, and Dennis, the toddler’s grandfather, on the floor of a locked bedroom.
Circumstances leading up to the Wilson County double homicide has not been determined, but it is believed that the murders took place in the early hours on Friday. Reports indicate that an ax was used to murder Michael’s wife and his father.
It was not immediately made clear why Michael was a suspect in the double homicide or what evidence was gathered at the crime scene, but police say that he was not at the scene when they arrived. His vehicle, which was seized by Wilson County Sheriff’s Office detectives, was found abandoned at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is about 60 miles west of Wilson County, and a warrant was subsequently issued for the North Carolina man’s arrest.
Officers worked with the Los Angeles Police Department in hopes of capturing the suspect, and less than 24 hours from the time the bodies were found inside of the Wilson County home, Michael was found inside of a San Pedro home, where he was “arrested without incident” at around 11 p.m.
Sheriff Woodard stated that “this incident appears to be domestic in nature with an ax being the choice of weapon used to facilitate this crime. We were able to locate his vehicle as well as gather intelligence as to his whereabouts in California. We are now awaiting the extradition results so that this suspect can be brought back to Wilson County to face these charges.”
Joyner’s neighbors were stunned after learning that he was arrested and accused of brutally murdering his wife and father with an ax. Benjamin Braswell said, “I always see him out there in that yard, doing yard work,” said Benjamin Braswell. “Most times when I see him, him and his daddy, they’re out there in the yard playing with that baby all the time.”
Another neighbor, Pamela Meeks, said, “It really breaks my heart because I was worried about the baby when I heard two people were killed. I was like ‘who?'”
Paramedics were called to the scene to examine the child, who was found inside of the Wilson County home near the bodies. They determined that the child, whose age has not been released, was not injured. It is also unknown if the child witnessed her mother and grandfather’s brutal murder.
Authorities say the girl is now in custody of the department of social services. Meanwhile, her father is being held at the Las Angeles County jail awaiting to be transferred.
Police have conducted an investigation to determine what happened in the Wilson County home and a possible motive for the killings.
If anyone has any information regarding the double murder in Wilson County, you are urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 252-237-2118.
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