Police responding to a call at a Charlotte hospital early Thursday later found two people dead – one inside a house and another inside the truck of a car – following what investigators believe was a case of domestic violence.
Hours later, police were searching for a man suspected of killing the two victims.
The story began to unfold at 4:40 a.m. Thursday when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police got a call from Carolinas Medical Center in reference to an assault with a deadly weapon. Officers went to the hospital and spoke with a female victim who said there might be additional victims at a home in the 9000 block of Red Clay Lane, near W. Sugar Creek Road.
Police went to the home and found 65-year-old Jacquline Gordon-White “suffering from trauma,” a CMPD spokeswoman said. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
While police were investigating, they uncovered information indicating that a male victim was missing from the home. The body of that male was found later inside the trunk of the vehicle driven to the hospital by the female victim.
Authorities have not said how any of the victims died.
Police named the suspect as 40-year-old Vurnel Smith Jr. He was thought to be in Charlotte driving a black 2017 Honda CRV with a North Carolina license plate PAS-9116.
Police have not said what relationship Smith may have had with any of the victims.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Smith has a history of run-ins with the law dating back to 1997, including charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense, assault on a female and driving while impaired. Records show he was found guilty of DWI, the Observer said.
Smith has pending trials on first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense. Both charges are related to a March 2015 case involving a woman in Kannapolis.
The victim told Kannapolis police that Smith, an acquaintance, broke into her home and sexually assaulted her, the Observer reported in 2015. He was later arrested in a Charlotte apartment complex, with the help of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
The latest deaths brought to 52 the number of homicide victims reported this year in Charlotte. A 53rd victim was reported Thursday when a 17-year-old man died from a gunshot wound he received on Monday in an unrelated incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide detective, or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.