Memorial Service held for victims in Martin County murder

MARTIN COUNTY, NC (WITN) - A community shocked and devastated by the murders of a mother and daughter will gather to remember their lives Friday and Saturday.

Visitation for 40-year-old Dawnn Ward and her 14-year-old daughter Taylor Carroll will be held at Walker Funeral Home in Williamston from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Their bodies were found in a well near Williamston earlier this month, and an autopsy showed they had been stabbed.

Dawnn Ward's estranged husband Jeffrey Ward is charged with killing the two, while his brother, Jerrett Ward, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.


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Two brothers facing charges in connection with the murder of a Martin County mother and daughter made brief court appearances today.

The bodies of 40-year-old Dawnn Ward and her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor Carroll, were found in a well near Williamston earlier this month.

An autopsy revealed they had been stabbed to death.

Jeffrey Ward, the estranged husband of Dawnn Ward, is charged with their murders.

His brother, Jerrett Ward, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

According to a search warrant obtained by WITN, Jeffrey Ward told investigators “he screwed up and he killed them during one of his blackout episodes, where he was overtaken by demons.”

This morning, the two were kept in separate parts of an inmate van, and brought in one at a time to a rear door of the courthouse in Williamston.

During the hearing, a District Court judge set February 15th as their next court date.

A memorial service for the mother and daughter is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.


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There is new information today from documents in the case of a mother and daughter murdered in Martin County.

The two were reported missing on November 28 and found days later in a well near Williamston. An autopsy shows the two had been stabbed.

Memorial services are now set. Visitation for Dawnn Ward, 40, and her daughter, Taylor Carroll, 14, will take place Friday night, December 16, at Walker Funeral Home in Williamston from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Memorial services will be held the following Saturday, December 17, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Jeffrey Ward, the woman's estranged husband, is charged with their murders.

A narrative in a search warrant WITN reviewed today states that on November 30, Jeffrey Ward was interviewed by law enforcement and that Ward stated “he screwed up and he killed them during one of his blackout episodes, where he was overtaken by demons.”

The report states “Ward said he went to 2180 McCaskey Rd and wanted to talk to Dawn but a verbal altercation ensued outside of the residence and he killed her outside."

Jerrett Ward, Jeffrey's brother, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Their next court date is December 14.


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Memorial services have now been set for the Martin County mother and daughter who were reported missing and found dead in a well last week.

Those services are set for next weekend.

Visitation for Dawnn Ward, 40, and her daughter, Taylor Carroll, 14, will take place Friday night, December 16th, at Walker Funeral Home in Williamston from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Memorial services will be held the following Saturday, December 17th, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

The two were reported missing on November 28th and found several days later in a well near Williamston. An autopsy shows the two had been stabbed.

Jeffrey Ward, the woman's estranged husband, is charged with killing the two, while Jerrett Ward, his brother, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Their next court date is December 14th.



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An autopsy shows that a mother and her teenage daughter were stabbed to death.

The bodies of Dawnn Ward, 40, and Taylor Carroll, 14, were found Thursday some 35-40 feet down a well. The two had not been seen since last Sunday night.

Jeffrey Ward, the woman's estranged husband, is charged with killing the two, while Jerrett Ward, his brother, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

The Medical Examiner's Office says the woman died from a single stab wound to the chest, while her daughter was stabbed multiple times to her chest.

Documents obtained by WITN show that the couple had a violent history.

In September 2014, Dawnn Ward obtained a domestic violence protective order against her husband.

In it she said Jeffrey Ward "grabbed me around my throat using his hands. He strangled me until I passed out." That allegedly happened on August 1, 2014 after the couple had an argument.

"I am afraid for my life, my children and my mother. He is dangerous," the woman wrote in the court document. "He came out and threatened to burn my house and my mother's house to kill us all," Ward said.

The protective order lasted for one year, expiring in 2015.

A search showed the woman never filed for divorce, and documents say while Taylor Carroll was not his biological daughter, she considered Jeffrey Ward to be her father.

Other documents show that a grand jury decided not to indict the husband for the August 2014 strangulation assault on his wife.

The Ward brothers appeared in court Monday morning about the same time Bear Grass Charter School was wrapping up a memorial assembly for the slain 14-year-old student.



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A husband and his brother made a brief court appearance this morning as classmates of one of the victims remembered the eighth grader.

Jeffrey Ward is charged with killing his estranged wife and daughter, while Jerrett Ward is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

The bodies of Dawnn Ward, 40, and Taylor Carroll, 14 were found Thursday after they had not been seen since Sunday night.

Taylor Carroll was honored at her school today. Bear Grass Charter School held an assembly this morning to remember the eighth grade cheerleader who lost her life alongside her mom.

The student body prayed for the 14-year-old and they were told to remember her life and not how she died.

A school crisis team was on hand to help both students and teachers cope with the loss.

The Ward brothers were given court appointed attorneys, and have their next court date for December 14th.

Autopsies for the victims are planned for today in Greenville.


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We are watching for several key developments Monday in the deaths of a Martin County woman and her teenage daughter, who authorities say were the victims of deadly domestic violence.

Autopsies are planned today for Dawnn Ward, 40, and Taylor Carroll, 14. Their bodies were found Thursday after they had not been seen since Sunday night.

Also Monday, suspects Jeffrey Ward and Jerrett Ward are due in court. Jeffrey Ward, the estranged husband of Dawn Ward, is charged with murder. His brother, Jerrett, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Taylor Carroll will be honored at her school today. Bear Grass Charter School is planning the assembly this morning to remember the eighth grade cheerleader who lost her life alongside her mom. Grief counselors will be available.



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The Martin County Sheriff's Office says two men have been arrested and charged in the deaths of a Martin County mother and daughter whose bodies were recovered on Thursday.

The bodies of Dawnn Ward, and her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor Carroll, were found in a residential well after they were reported missing on Monday.

Dawnn Ward's husband, Jeffrey Ward, is charged with two counts of murder. He's being held without bond.

Lt. Drew Robinson says they Dawnn and Jeffrey were separated.

According to the Martin County Clerk of Court, Dawnn had filed a restraining order against her husband in 2014. That order expired in 2015, and was never reinstated.

Jeffrey's brother, Jerrett Ward, is charged with two counts of Accessory After the Fact to Murder.

He's being held under a $1,000,000 secured bond.

Both men are scheduled for first court appearances on Monday, December 5 in Martin County.

A memorial service for Dawnn Ward and Taylor Carroll started at 3pm Saturday at Bethany Pentecostal Holiness Church in Williamston.

More than 100 people gathered to share fond memories of Dawnn and Taylor.

Several students from Bear Grass Charter School, where Taylor was a student, spoke to the crowd along with the Principal about her bubbly personality and loving heart.

Dawnn's cousin, Kelly Connors, also spoke on how she'll remember her cousin.

"We spent a lot of time over at my grandmother's house. I just remember playing with her and have so many fond memories and then we both became moms and she's just an amazing mother. It's hard that she's got a son left behind in this and my heart just aches for that as a mom but we just have a lot of great memories," Connors said.

Connors also thanked the community for the outpouring of support and love the family has seen over the last several days, and asked that people continue to share their fond memories and funny stories about the women.

She said it comforts her to know they touched the lives of so many people.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family pay for the unexpected funeral. Arrangements have not yet been set.

The principal of Bear Grass Charter School also mentioned that there will be a gathering at the school at 8am on Monday to recognize Taylor and her Mom, and that counselors will be on hand for students as needed.


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Deputies in Martin County say a missing mother and her daughter are dead, and their bodies have now been recovered.

Lt. Drew Robinson says they have evidence to open a homicide investigation.

Dawnn Ward, and her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor Carroll, were last seen alive Sunday night at their home on Robert Taylor Road in Everetts.

Lt. Robinson says the bodies were found around 2:00 p.m. Thursday in a well at a residence on McCaskey Road.

He estimates the well to be about 35 to 40 feet and says it took hours to recover their bodies.

The cause of death is unknown at this time. Autopsies will be performed Monday.

Multiple agencies, including the FBI & SBI, are assisting deputies with the investigation.

Robinson says no arrests have been made at this point.

The 14-year-old attended Bear Grass Charter School. The school has cancelled classes for Friday due to the deaths. Friends have started a makeshift memorial outside the front of the school.

Bear Grass Principal Donna Moore tells WITN they are planning to do an assembly on Monday and will have counselors on hand for students. Moore says Carroll, who was in 8th grade, was an all around good student and a cheerleader.

Deputies continue to urge anyone who had seen the two after 10:30 p.m. Sunday should immediately call the Martin County Sheriff's Office at 252-789-4500, 252-789-4555 or 252-792-8800.

Family members also tell us an informal community gathering to celebrate the lives of Dawnn Ward and Taylor Carroll will take place Saturday, December 3rd at 3pm at Bethany Pentecostal Holiness Church 1248 Tyner Rd. WIlliamston.


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A local family is fraught with worry Tuesday night over the disappearance of a mother and daughter and Martin County investigators believe there is cause for concern.

Lt. Drew Robinson says they were reported missing Monday and law enforcement and the family are both urging the public to come forward with any information.

Just before it got dark Tuesday night, Martin County authorities were at the home in Everetts where Dawnn Ward lives with her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor Carroll, according to family.

Carroll, who is a student at Bear Grass Charter School, and her 40-year-old mother were last seen at their home Sunday night around 10:30 p.m.

The two were reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Monday by Ward's mother.

Lt. Robinson says their disappearance is concerning for reasons he cannot release at this time. "Any time you have someone who is missing and their whereabouts are unknown, then that in and of itself is a cause for concern. In this situation we have uncovered evidence, which I am not able to elaborate on, which causes additional concern."

He is asking any of the family's acquaintances and friends who may have talked to Ward or Carroll in the last few days to please give them a call, saying even the slightest piece of information could really make a difference.

Ward was last seen wearing red, black and white fleece pants, red pajama top and Sperry shoes, while her daughter was wearing jean shorts and a green t-shirt.

The family declined to speak with WITN on camera, but asked for prayers as they anxiously await a positive outcome.

Anyone who has information as to the whereabouts of two are urged to contact the Martin County Sheriff's Office at 252-789-4500, 252-789-4555 or 252-792-8800.


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Deputies say they have found evidence that causes them concern in disappearance of a mother and daughter.

Martin County deputies are asking for the public's help in locating Dawnn Ward, 40, and her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor Carroll.

Lt. Drew Robinson says the two were last seen Sunday at their home on Robert Taylor Road in Everetts.

He would not elaborate on what evidence they have uncovered that causes them concern for the safety and welfare of the two.

Carroll is a student at Bear Grass Charter School, according to Robinson.

The SBI is assisting the Martin County Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

Ward was last seen wearing red, black and white fleece pants, red pajama top and Sperry shoes, while her daughter was wearing jean shorts, and a green t-shirt.

Anyone who has information as to the whereabouts of two are urged to contact the Martin County Sheriff's Office at 252-789-4500, 252-789-4555 or 252-792-8800.