Detectives mine Facebook for clues in fatal shooting

From staff reportsJanuary 17, 2013 

— Police last month conducted a fruitless search of the Facebook accounts of nine people who they thought might have information about the late November fatal shooting of a 31-year-old woman in front of her apartment.

Latoya McNeil and her mother, Angela Harding, 48, were both struck by a hail of gunfire in the 200 block of Johnson Street on Nov. 30 around 9:30 p.m.

The Garner day-care worker had spent the day decorating her pre-school classroom for the holidays and was returning home after attending her son’s middle school basketball game.

Her 13-year-old son had gone into their apartment and was not injured. Harding’s injuries were not life-threatening, but McNeil’s wounds were fatal.

Witnesses told police that after the gunshots, two men fled toward Curtiss Street, less than a block away.

By Dec. 4, police had identified nine people they thought could be connected to the shootings, and obtained a search warrant to examine Facebook conversations between the nine about McNeil’s death. Investigators reviewed the individuals’ incoming and outgoing messages, email addresses, photographs, videos and related information, court records show.

The warrant, returned Thursday at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office, indicated detectives did not seize any information from the Facebook accounts.

No suspects have been arrested in the crime, Sgt. Scott Crawford, of the Garner Police Department, said Thursday.

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