Lauren Maria Jenkins, a 17-year-old Leesville Road High School student, was drinking liquor with friends in a hotel room shortly before she wrecked her car and was later found dead, according to court records.
The two-vehicle accident happened during the evening of March 17 at the intersection of Leesville and Oneal roads in North Raleigh. Jenkins left the accident scene and was found dead two days later in a wooded area nearby.
A juvenile passenger in Jenkins’ car told a state Highway Patrol trooper they had been drinking at a hotel party before the crash, according to a search warrant application made public Wednesday at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.
The passenger also said Jenkins’ older brother had bought alcohol for them at an ABC store, according to the search warrant.
A state trooper reviewed video footage from a hotel that showed Jenkins and others “consuming from what appeared to be Hennessy cognac and Cruzan rum,” according to the search warrant. Troopers also reported finding a bottle of Hennessy liquor on a seat in the car Jenkins was driving.
Special agent L. Houpe with the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement obtained a search warrant March 22 to review possible evidence on Jenkins’ iPhone.
Houpe became involved in the case the morning after the crash. Jenkins was considered a missing person, “as she had left the scene of the crash and had not been seen or heard from since,” Houpe stated in the search warrant application.
The Highway Patrol asked the Wake County Sheriff’s Office to help search the area. A search dog picked up Jenkins’ scent by two ponds off Leesville Road around the same time a neighbor found the body.
A 17-year-old girl who was in the front seat of Jenkins’ car sustained minor injuries in the crash and also left the scene, the Highway Patrol reported. A second passenger, a 19-year-old man who was in the back seat, sustained several broken ribs.
The driver of the second vehicle involved in the wreck remained on the scene and was not injured, a patrol spokesman reported.