Victim’s family: police offered no protection

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Submitted: Fri, 01/11/2008 - 11:19pm
Updated: Mon, 06/24/2013 - 2:34pm

LAKE WACCAMAW, NC (WWAY) — It was between the time Darnell Frink was killed and the time that Delamez Jones went missing that Jones and his parents spoke to police about the shooting at the Lake Waccamaw gas station, because Delamez Jones was a witness.

Jones's family says law enforcement officers didn't do enough to the protect him. Delamez Jones's family says they requested protection from officers for the 14-year-old and were denied.

Investigators say Jones's cousin, Santonio Jenrette, and 16-year-old Marquell Hunter kidnapped and killed Jones so he wouldn't talk to law enforcement officers about the murder he witnessed in late September. About a week after the murder Jones' family says detectives got a statement from the teen about what he saw and then told the family protecting him wouldn't be necessary.

"The only thing he told me was this kind of thing only happens in the movies," Jones's aunt Melanie Canty said. "You never expect anything like that to happen around here."

Mabalene Moody, Jones's mother, said, "They knew that if they questioned him, he was going to be in danger."

Lake Waccamaw Police Department Chief Scott Hyatt said, "It's not something that we anticipated or thought would ever have happened."

Family members say Jones was warned he might get hurt if he talked to cops. Chief Hyatt says he was not aware of those threats. Hyatt also says when the teen was first reported missing November 19 no law enforcement officer involved in the case felt Jones was in any danger, because Jones's friends told them he had talked about running away.

Case timeline
Marquell Hunter and Santonio Jenrette are accused in the death of Darnell Frink and Delamez Jones.

-On September 21 Frink was killed in a shooting at a Lake Waccamaw gas station. The next day Connail Reeves was stopped by police, for driving a stolen car — the car used in the shooting. Jenrette was with Reeves and took off. Reeves was arrested and later charged in the death of Drink.

-Jump ahead to November 19: 14-year-old Rashed Delamez Jones disappears. His bike was found on the side of the road. His body was found off Barney Tyler Road on December 5.

-Thursday saw a big break in both murders. Hunter was charged with Jones's murder. He had previously been implicated in the Frink murder. Jenrette was charged with both Frink's and Jones's murders.


  • Diddy says:

    That is so sad.Thats a lifetime story u would see on t.v. He didn’t deserve that, his people should be ashamed.His own cousin…wowww!No matter how small that police department is its thier job to serve and protect.It can’t be that much crime going on around that town.If he was white he would ha all the protection in world!!!

  • helena says:

    another witness in the trial has gone missing Rebecca White .She did not have any police protection and she was very afraid for her life also.She disappeared after testifying on Wednesday. she has not beetn seen or heard from. Some one has her phone but we can’t trace it because it is a track phone.

  • Guest1234 says:

    i agree that it is a shame that the police did not protect him. i noticed a comment that “columbus county should have spent money to protect him.” a poverty stricken, welfare, food stamp county such as columbus does not have money for everything. columbus county can barely even fund it’s schools. luckily, i recently moved away from columbus county. Maybe, instead of blaming the local law enforcement, the col county commissioners should be blamed for running a county that is way behind on times.

  • Guest10000000 says:

    What happen to family values! A family member said in the interview that the boy was with Jenrette the night of the murder at the Lake. Did the boy’s family help the police with the murder of the Chadbourn boy? However when the tables are turned, they expect help. It also appears that the family knew Jenrette was a bad “seed” but they let the boy go with Jenrette and they allowed him to look up to Jenrette. I really feel sorry for the boy that was killed and the family, but if they are looking for someone to blame, they should look to themselves. If you allow your child to hang around bad people, expect bad things to happen.

  • Guest From Brunswick County says:

    This young man had a right to be protected by both his family and the LE community.

    First, his family knowing how dangerous his cousin was should not have let him out to ride a bike alone.

    Second and foremost the Sheriff’s department should have protected him or made suggestion to protect him.

    Whoever said the Sheriff Department out there needs a cleaning out is right, maybe when the feds are doing cleaning out the mess in Brunswick County Law Enforcement they can just move one county over.

  • BB says:

    Yes, the fact that Rashed Jones’ own family members killed him is horrific. On that I think all involved will agree. It still does not answer the question; Is there a plan in place to protect informants in a potential capital murder case? You cannot just ignore the threat to the health of person who has comitted to providing information that will help tha public remain safe.

  • guesty says:

    Is your complete lack of English skills.

  • no name says:

    The killers family a just bad people they go around town all big and bad I blame the elders of the jenrette hunter family whiteville will be a better place with out them

  • breebree says:

    i so thnk that iz wrong becuz he did nt have to go like that be cuz mi uncle didi nt deserve to be killed n i thnk it waz so wrong

  • zenobia says:

    Did the killer of Frink really kill Jones, or was the kid at risk of talking so much that TPTB had to shut him up? It always seems like there is something going on in Columbus County that would not bear an outside investigation.

  • tarheelgirl3 says:

    Well, everyone is always singing the praises of Sheriff Batten… now you say he is a bad sheriff. I, for one, did not vote for him and it appears he has improved the dept. some, but mostly what he does is for show and to get his name and pic in the paper!! But, do not blame these depts for not protecting that boy. That “boy” did not come forward right away to let LE know about the shooting…it took some time and investigating to come up with that. The family knew the other “boys” were dangerous, I mean, they had just killed one guy for goodness sake!!!! The family should have sent the kid to stay with relatives away from here, or should have kept him at home away from where he could be cornered by these thugs! Do you think they can assign officers around the clock until trial to keep that boy safe….they don’t have the manpower or money to do that for anyone, not even the sheriffs’ son!! Get real!

  • Guest159 says:

    I am not suprised that the Columbus County Sheriff’s Department did not offer help and that they would turn you away. We have the WORST department ever. I can’t wait until election time, it is time for BATTEN to go. Just remember if Batten’s child would have witnessed a crime they would have been highly protected. Batten’s children are no different from yours. They were all created eaqually. Finally for the record I am a white person. I know that some comments about race was made during the death of your son. Color does not matter, it is about the crime!!!! Keeping you guys in our prayers!!

  • Guest004832 says:

    It saddens me that this child was taken away from his family at a young age; that his cousin murdered him is horrendous. It sounds like the family didn’t expect for the cousin to murder him either, and thought it was safe to let the child out to ride a bike by himself. The thug mentality is if you’re going down anyway, take down the person who’s sending you there. I guess it doesn’t matter if you’re family or not.

  • 4321 says:

    Lake Waccamaw is not the FBI. It is a small department that does not have a witness protection program. If they were so afraid they should have taken precautions on their own.

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