MEBANE, N.C. (WTVD) -- After more than two weeks of investigating, a person is now in custody in connection to the murders of two North Carolina high school students.
Lyric Woods, 14, and Devin Clark, 18, were found dead on an Orange County trail on Sept. 18. The two young people had been missing for more than a day when their bodies were found by some people riding ATVs.
Investigators quickly announced that a 17-year-old was the prime suspect in the case. However, weeks went by without investigators announcing any developments in capturing the wanted teen.
Just before 3 p.m. on Oct. 5, Orange County Sheriff's Office announced that a juvenile had been brought into custody in the case.
"We hope this apprehension provides some relief to the families and friends of Devin and Lyric, who have experienced an excruciating loss. Obviously, the capture of the suspect does not restore their loved one to them. The grieving process is a long one, and we hope the community will continue to support them in their pain," Sheriff Charles Blackwood said.
The juvenile in custody has not been identified or yet charged as an adult. Since December 2019, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit crimes in North Carolina are not automatically charged as adults. However, with probable cause, a judge has the ability to transfer the case into the adult justice system.
"We understand our community is hungry for information to help process this tragedy; however, the laws regarding juvenile confidentiality are ironclad. We have no ability to set them aside, even given the heightened interest in this case," Blackwood said.
ABC11 spoke with NCCU law professor Irving Joyner who says he doubts the case will remain in juvenile court due to the severity of the offense.
"Here you're talking about two counts of first degree murder. And it is very unusual and very rare, that a case of this magnitude stays in juvenile court," Joyner said.
"It is a very serious accusation very serious prosecution. So both sides of the comb will want to ensure that all of the legal steps are properly navigated through, such that the rights of the suspect are protected, as well as the work of law enforcement in gathering this information that will then eventually be used for the prosecution at a trial. So you, you can't rush it," he continued.
In a previous update, Orange County Sheriff's Office said the 17-year-old suspect was being sought on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Woods and Clark.
Woods was a freshman at Cedar Ridge High School. Clark was a senior at Eastern Alamance High School. Their friends and families all held vigils and memorials for them in the days following their deaths.