Friends, family say final goodbyes, honor Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd's life of service

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Saturday, August 20, 2022
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It is a day of mourning for the Wake County Sheriff's Office and the family of Deputy Ned Byrd who was killed in the line of duty. The investigation into his death is ongoing.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It was an emotional day of mourning for the Wake County Sheriff's Office and the family of Deputy Ned Byrd, who was killed in the line of duty a week ago.

Byrd was laid to rest today as the investigation into his death continues.

A legion of law enforcement officers showed up at Providence Baptist Church on Friday for the services.

Around 10:30 a.m., Glenwood Avenue was shut down temporarily as a large procession escorted Byrd's casket from Mitchell Funeral Home to the church.

Byrd's K-9 partner, Sasha, led the way. Sasha was with Byrd the night he was gunned down.

Inside the church, Journey's Don't Stop Believing -- Byrd's favorite song -- could be heard playing before the service began.

His cousin, Brooke Weaver, shared through tears how he spent last Thanksgiving with her in Utah. She said they talked at length about her wanting to become a police officer.

"Ned I'm so sorry that I made a career choice that's taken me down a career path. So sorry I didn't get up at 4 a.m. and run every morning like you wanted," Weaver said. "Ned I'm sorry it took this happening for me to come to North Carolina to be with you."

She was one of five family members and friends who gave remarks on the 48-year-old's life and legacy.

His friend, Ryan Schmidt met Byrd more than 15 years ago at the Crossfit gym. He said they later became roommates.

"I'm not going to stand up here and pretend I have the slightest idea or something profound or deep that will take away our pain and the loss of having Ned taken away from us way ahead of his time," Schmidt said. "He was a kind and generous soul that dedicated his life to serving others. We know you'll guard the gates well. Love you. Miss you. I'll see you soon brother."

Friends and loved ones got up to speak and fought back the tears to share stories they'll never forget and ways Byrd made their lives better.

"Ned was the kind of man that made a friend everywhere. Whether you wanted him to be your friend or not, he would wear you down until you liked him. By then, you loved him," his cousin Elina Pereira said.

"This is a nightmare I just want to wake up from," one speaker said.

"He was a kind and generous soul that dedicated his life to serving others," another speaker said.

Many of the speakers emphasized how strong Byrd was physically and mentally. They praised him for his determination and seemingly limitless generosity.

Sheriff Gerald Baker shared what he did when he got to the scene the night Byrd was killed.

"I kneeled down beside him and promised him that we would find those responsible for what happened to him that night."

Baker went on to say that another $25,000 had been added to the reward for key information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. That money brings the total reward up to $125,000.

All told, the service took over four hours.

Following the funeral, there was a recessional from the church to Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in downtown Raleigh.

The investigation

One man has been charged with murder in the investigation into Byrd's death. Arturo Marin-Sotelo, 29, made his first court appearance on Thursday. The Wake County District Attorney said that at least one more person is expected to face charges in the case.

During a press conference on Thursday Sheriff Gerald Baker confirmed an arrest was made in the case and thanked all law enforcement for their work on the case.

"It gives this office great pleasure ... on this morning to be able to share that one of the suspects that we believe is involved in the death of Deputy Ned Byrd has been charged with murder in that case," Baker said at a media briefing. "It's been around the clock work by this agency and others."

The sheriff said, "future arrests" were expected and urged the public to come forward with any additional information that may help. He said tiplines have been set up at (919) 306-6931 or (919) 306-7748. Those lines are open 24 hours a day.