HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The crime shocked Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood more than most in his long career.
"It's my goal to keep Lyric Woods and Devin Clark's name alive," he said Wednesday night. "Whenever you have a crime that shocks the consciousness of the community, you want to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Blackwood has worked for the last year to try to change the law that kept him from putting out information on the suspect who investigators believed was behind Lyric and Devin's murder.
The teenagers were reported missing from their homes in September 2022 and found days later in a rural part of the county alongside a road.
Blackwood said he knew it was 17-year-old Issiah Ross and that Ross was in Delaware but he couldn't disclose any information on it.
"It's a juvenile situation, records are secured, and I couldn't release this. We explained this and that didn't satisfy a lot of people," Blackwood said. "This is as I'm trying to console two families."
The law, which goes into effect Friday, is House Bill 186 which is named after Lyric and Devin.
It eases restrictions on how law enforcement agencies identify juveniles suspected of serious crimes. Sheriffs such as Blackwood will still need to go to court to prove their cases, but he's hopeful this is something they can use in the future.
Blackwood, who is also immediate past president of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association, said he worked closely with Reps. Danny Britt and Carson Smith, who used to be the sheriff in Pender County.
Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins also expressed frustration earlier this year in not being able to release more information about a 16-year-old suspect who was wanted for murder as well.
"I can't give their daughter back," said Blackwood about Lyric. "I can't give their son back but I can certainly try and help other family members."
Blackwood said his former chief deputy's daughter was friends with Lyric, too, so that made the case even more personal.
Asked about a motive, Blackwood said Thursday that there was no robbery or plan; just an event and an opportunity.