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2 charged in death of 18-year-old Laurens woman

Joshua Newton

Victoria Smith

Two people have been arrested in Monroe, North Carolina in connection with the death of an 18-year-old Laurens County woman who had been missing since Friday, June 30.

The body identified by authorities in Union County, North Carolina of Kierstyn Mackennah Payge Williamson was discovered Tuesday afternoon, and murder and related charges soon followed for a North Carolina man and woman.

Joshua Newton, 25, has been charged with first-degree murder and obstruction of justice, while Victoria Smith, 22, has been charged with obstruction of justice and accessory to murder after the fact. Newton was denied bond on the murder charge, and bond was set at a combined $3 million for Smith.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim in this case as they begin to mourn this unimaginable loss,” said Union County (N.C.) Sheriff Eddie Cathey in a statement from the UCSO. “Over the past several days, the men and women of the Union County Sheriff’s Office have fully dedicated themselves to this case and ensuring the people responsible for this tragic loss were brought to justice.”

According to the UCSO, deputies began looking into Williamson’s disappearance on Sunday, and the investigation led them to a residence on Bethpage Lane in Monroe where Williamson was purported to be.

According to the release, deputies and personnel from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation began a 36-hour search and investigation into the circumstances surrounding Williamson’s disappearance from Laurens.

According to a social media post by Williamson’s mother, Williamson last made contact with her at 11:43 p.m. on June 30. The victim had gotten into an older Saturn vehicle with a man she had met only a few hours prior. Her phone last pinged in a wooded area in Western North Carolina before it was shut off.


  1. Sadiw on July 31, 2023 at 3:56 am

    The victim was a trans man named Jacob. Please stop misgendering victims. This crime was very likely hate-motivated.

  2. Skulley on August 21, 2023 at 12:59 am

    I’m going to say this one last time the fact that Jacob was taken from us now I’m going to be honest with everybody on here I used to be friends with Victoria and Joshua no I do not agree what they have done Jacob did not deserve to go the way he went I do not agree with misgendering him which I feel is disrespectful to the trans community and as a mother it breaks my heart for his family each and every day I am deeply ashamed that I used to be friends with them and I will continue to fight on with the family to give him the closure they need to let them know they have my support and I just want them to know that Jacob is the one who passed on the one who was hurt at the end of it all not only that his family was affected and we all need to acknowledge that I have I have sat on my couch reading these articles and let me tell you I have sat in my couch crying feeling like utter s*** wishing that there would have been a different outcome you know maybe Jacob’s life would have been saved but the end of the day all we can do is learn from each other and know that Jacob was an incredible person and know that each and every day I will keep pushing his story more and more out there for people to know and that he deserves the recognition not Victoria and not Joshua so I want you all to understand that the ones who follow him who are Victoria and Joshua’s followers on Tik Tok Instagram and also on Facebook or who friends with them on Facebook understand that if you all keep supporting these people you’re basically disrespecting Jacob if you have any conscience and if you know more about the situation than you know I would recommend you go to the police and tell them what is going on

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