According to North Carolina’s local CBS Affiliate WTSP Channel 10 News
, the search for principal of a Wayne County Charter School in Goldsboro who was wanted for the alleged rape of a child has ended; after authorities discovered a decomposing corpse in the woods
Last week authorities with the Goldsboro Police Department began investigating claims that a 35-year-old Wayne County Charter School Principal, Richard Omar Knight, had engaged in indecent sexual abuse of a young female student from Dillard Academy Charter School
On Thursday afternoon, Goldsboro Police obtained an arrest warrant and began a manhunt to apprehend Knight on the charges of statutory rape and a sex act of indecent liberties with a female student, to no avail as they couldn't locate their suspect.
All of the alleged sexual assault on the child is said to have occurred at Dillard Academy Charter School, where Knight served for two years and has since been suspended from his role as Principal.
On Friday afternoon, Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office discovered the body of Knight located in the woods near the 5400 block of West Ten Road in Mebane, North Carolina.
“The hunters’ deer cameras recorded Mr. Knight in the wooded area at approximately 12:36 a.m. on Friday morning. He is alone in the video and appears to be carrying a blanket. Further investigation led to the discovery of Mr. Knight’s Chevrolet Cruze at the Petro Mart on Buckhorn Road. No foul play is suspected in connection with Mr. Knight’s death,” according to the Sheriff’s office.
As of this time, Goldsboro Police have yet to align anyone as a suspect in the death of the Knight, saying that the cause of death appeared to be “self-inflicted wound,” but not giving greater details.
“Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office advised that they located Richard Omar Knight in a wooded area within their jurisdiction. Mr. Knight was found deceased. The victim of an apparent self-inflicted injury,” according to Goldsboro police.
Knight has remained on Administrative Leave since the allegations against him were made public, whereas officials with Dillard Academy Charter School are now seeking a replacement for their Principal.
"I just want to move on through this maze. This forest that we are dealing with," said Dillard Academy's Executive Director Hilda Hicks.
Hicks and the Dillard Academy Board of Education meeting Monday night to discuss the potential hiring of an interim principal. They hope to fill the position permanently early next year.
Teachers and staff who worked alongside Knight say they're in absolute disbelief of the apparent suicide and child rape allegations.
“He was a very loving, and kind individual," said the Board's Vice Chairman David Simmons. "Needless to say, I was shocked to hear of this allegation and charge against him."
Hicks referred to the Board*s role now as being "complicated," saying that staff is both attempting to move forward while grieving and also making sense of the rape accusations against Knight.
"It is a difficult thing to process when you're trying to look at something that has happened outside of knowing the children and a wife. Since we know both of them it is very difficult. Your emotions run from here to there," Hicks said.
Simmons added that members of the School's board will attempt to reach out the family of the 12-year-old female rape victim, offering his apologies.
"I'm sorry of what's taken place and that we are here to support them also," he said.
The board voted to have a half day on Tuesday to give staff time cope and come to terms with what's happened inside their school. Hicks said counselors will be available to both students and teachers on Wednesday afternoon.
"Just keep us in your prayers and give us your love," she said.
For now, the child remains unnamed in order to protect her identity, and we can do nothing more than send our thoughts and prayers to the child and her family during this tumultuous period.
If you or anyone you know has additional information about 35-year-old Richard Omar Knight or the allegations against him, you're urged to contact the Goldsboro Police Department at 919-705-6572.
Members of the public who have information about child-sexual predators are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.
They can also submit a tip over the internet by completing ICE’s online form by clicking here.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is also bringing down suspected child-sex offenders through Operation Predator.
You can also contact ICE via the Operation Predator application for mobile devices. ICE has created a smartphone app – the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement – designed to seek the public's help with fugitive and unknown suspect child predators.
The iOS version of the app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store and iTunes
; the Android version is also available via Google Play Store
It is also time that we as a society hold our elected officials accountable in demanding stricter punishments be enforced with tough new legislation against anyone who would victimize a child, of either life imprisonment, of capital punishment. Oftentimes, they are released and re-offend. There is no rehabilitation for child sex offenders.
Click here to find your elected officials in the House of Representatives.
Click here to find your elected officials in the United States Senate.
This is a developing story, we will update with any additional information as it arises.
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