"We love Danielle. We miss Danielle. We hope nothing has happened to her," said her aunt, Chena Papa. "We're scared to our bones because we do have ties out there in Autryville. So that's why we're scared."
Just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, emergency crews were called about a body in the water near Hollow Bridge Road, just outside of Autryville, which is about 15 miles east of Fayetteville. Locklear's family said Thursday they are natives of the area.
Emergency crews later recovered the body of an unidentified female. The victim has been taken to the Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh for positive identification, and to determine her cause of death.
"Until we know, until there's a positive identity, we will not stop praying," said Papa. "We will not give up, giving up hope, because that's all we have right now."
Locklear disappeared from her Hope Mills neighborhood on March 11. Since then, search parties have been organized, missing persons billboards have gone up across the area, and several agencies joined the investigation, including the FBI.
Locklear lives with her grandparents, who are her legal guardians, but the family said Thursday they've been hard pressed for information regarding the investigation.
"Online, through the news, that's where we've received the information from," said Papa. "No one particularly has come over to us. They have contacted my sister [Danielle's mother], and she's on the road now coming back [to town]."
"Don't stop praying," she added. "That's what we need right now more than anything."
Also Thursday, Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo confirmed to ABC11 that officers issued a search warrant in the case after a witness said they had seen Locklear kicked, beaten, and injured with a sharp instrument by a group of people shortly before she disappeared. However, the chief says investigators discounted the allegations after none of the information panned out.