Investigation into deaths of high school teen, 72-year-old in Jacksonville continues

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The investigation by Jacksonville Police concerning the death of two men found dead late Sunday night continues.

9 On Your Side spoke with one man who lives in the house outside where Khalil Kirkland’s body was found only feet away from his front yard and a Northside High School classmate of Khalil’s, who says he was a prosperous and aspiring student.

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“In 20 years nothing like this has ever happened,” said Jim Menard. “I looked out in the road and saw a dead body lying there covered up in a sheet.”

“It kind of really sank in I kind of heard the emotion of people crying around the room,” said Maverick Pellegrin, Khalil Kirkland’s classmate.

Investigators spent the day combing over what they call a large crime scene.

Police found the two victims, Carl Eisert and high school senior Khalil Kirkland, less than half a mile apart on Gum Branch Road. Both were found on the right hand side of the street heading towards Highway 17.

Police Chief Mike Yaniero hasn’t released details, but says the investigation is ongoing.

“Every investigator we have is out there right now collecting evidence, processing evidence, so it’s going to be an exhausting process for us.”

While not much is known about Eisert, Onslow County Schools confirmed Kirkland was a student at Northside High School.

Maverick Pellegrin., a friend of Kirkland’s for nearly five years, says Kirkland was active in the Junior ROTC and STEM Academy and had high aspirations of becoming a nuclear engineer in the armed services.

“Meeting new people and doing something good for the society, so I know he was very well forward and had a lot of ambition in life,” said Pellegrin of the type of person Kirkland aspired to be. Pellegrin believes Kirkland may have been walking home from his job at Burger King Sunday evening, he says coping with his friends loss will be difficult. “Every single day we used to hang out, I know I’m not going to be able to laugh as much in all my classes, he was in all my classes, he was a fun guy.”

Police say the two men suffered from some sort of blunt force trauma but are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of death.

“We know that prior to the arrival of law enforcement, there were motorists who drove through the immediate area where these deaths occurred” said Captain Ashley Weaver, who is supervising the investigation. “Detectives would like to speak with these motorists and any others that may have been in the area between 10:20 and 10:45. You could have important information that will assist us. Even the smallest detail may be of benefit to the investigation.”

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact JPD Detective Daniel Karratti at dkarratti@ci.jacksonville.nc.us or 910-938-6410 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Crime Stoppers offers up to $2,500 for information leading to arrest.

In addition to the Crime Stopper reward, Jacksonville Police is offering an additional $2,000, making the possible reward total $4,500. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

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A person of interest is in custody as the Jacksonville Police Department is investigating the deaths of two men.

Police Chief Mike Yaniero says officers found the men around 10:45 Sunday night on Gum Branch Road.

72-year-old Joseph Eisert was found first, lying near DeWitt Street. A few minutes later, police found 17-year-old Khalil Kirkland near Nottingham Road.

Both were pronounced dead on the scene.

“Both victims sustained significant physical injuries” stated Chief Mike Yaniero, Director of Public Safety.  “We are actively pursuing each and every lead in these two tragic deaths.”

The person of interest is in custody at Onslow Memorial Hospital.

“We are working closely with the Onslow County District Attorney’s Office regarding the investigation and possible charges” said Captain Ashley Weaver, Investigative Services Supervisor.

Onslow County Schools confirms that Kirland was a high school senior.

“We ask that anyone who may have been in those areas of Gum Branch Road between the hours of 10:00 and 11:00 PM and may have seen anything to contact us immediately,” said Captain Weaver.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact JPD Detective Daniel Karratti at dkarratti@ci.jacksonville.nc.us or 910-938-6410 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Crime Stoppers offers up to $2,500 for information leading to arrest.

The police department is providing an additional $2,000 toward the reward, making the possible reward total $4,500.   Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

 

 

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