CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There was a grim discovery made at a Charlotte church. All day police have been combing the area behind a local church after a young woman’s body was found Friday morning.
It happened near the East Stonewall AME Zion Church on Griers Grove Road.
NBC Charlotte has learned from our sister station in Norfolk, Virginia WVEC, that a family there has been asked to travel to Charlotte to identify the body. They are on their way to the Queen City now.
There was a heavy police presence on scene with a helicopter in the sky and several patrol cars on the ground. Investigators are trying to determine if the grim discovery was also a crime.
“There’s a lot of crime in this area,” says Reverend Michael McLean with East Stonewall AME Zion Church.
Reverend McLean says he’s seen a lot of things behind the church such as drug paraphernalia and clothing. However, he’s never heard of anything like what the landscapers found Friday morning. Reverend McLean says they said they found a young woman’s body behind the church.
“He initially smelled something, and as he looked he couldn’t identify it, assuming it might have been a deer or something,” says Reverend McLean.
Reverend McLean says when they realized it was a body, they called 911. Police have not yet determined foul play was involved. However, one neighbor tells NBC Charlotte she heard gunshots overnight.
“We saw all the police cars and the fire truck and it kind of dawned on me, I wonder if that’s got something to do with the shots I heard,” says neighbor Joycelyn Richardson.
Her son, Joshua Richardson, is the president of the local neighborhood association. Joshua says the police activity is a reminder of crime in the area.
“This section has been a problem area for a long time, very long time,” says Joshua Richardson.
“We went a little bit where you didn’t hear all the ‘pow pow pow’, it’s picked up again,” says Joycelyn Richardson.
However, police have not yet said how the person died.
“It’s unfortunate that a young life was lost,” says Reverend McLean.
The case remains under investigation.