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NC principal accused of raping 12-year-old student found dead, police say

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A North Carolina principal who allegedly raped a 12-year-old student at school has been found dead in Orange County of an apparent self-inflicted injury, police said Monday.

Goldsboro police learned of the student’s allegations Thursday afternoon and obtained a warrant Friday charging Richard Omar Knight, 35, with statutory rape and a sex act and indecent liberties with a female student at Dillard Academy Charter School, The News & Observer previously reported. Knight, of Smithfield, was principal of the charter school.

Knight was found in Mebane, in Orange County, Monday, after two hunters found his body in a wooded area and called 911, according to a news release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

“The hunters’ deer cameras recorded Mr. Knight in the wooded area at approximately 12:36 a.m. on Friday morning. He is alone in the video and appears to be carrying a blanket. Further investigation led to the discovery of Mr. Knight’s Chevrolet Cruze at the Petro Mart on Buckhorn Road. No foul play is suspected in connection with Mr. Knight’s death,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The area is near the 5400 block of West Ten Road, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

“Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office advised that they located Richard Omar Knight in a wooded area within their jurisdiction. Mr. Knight was found deceased. The victim of an apparent self-inflicted injury,” according to Goldsboro police.

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An autopsy will be performed by the state medical examiner, police said.

“The investigation into the allegations made regarding Mr. Knight remain under investigation,” Goldsboro police said.

Police said Knight had been suspended from his role at the nonprofit public charter school, which is not affiliated with Wayne County Schools.

Police said anyone with information about the alleged rape “are asked to call or text Crime Stoppers at 919-735-2255 or submit a TIP at p3tips.com. Callers will remain anonymous and if your information leads to a felony arrest you will be given a cash reward for the information. Crime Stoppers gives cash rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to felony arrests.”

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