26 deer found dead in Pinetops; 5 charged

When a tip led wildlife officers to a home in Pinetops Sunday morning, they could not believe what they found - 26 dead deer. (Courtesy of WRAL)

PINETOPS, N.C. (WNCT)- Five teens face charges in Edgecombe County in connection with more than two dozen dead deer carcasses found Sunday Morning.

“The deer were in various states of decay,” said Lt. Sam Craft, with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. “Some were just the heads with the antlers, and others were whole deer left to lie in the field.”

According to our sister station, WRAL, sixteen heads were found in a Pinetops home. Ten more deer were found in various fields across the county.
While investigating, wildlife officers say they found one deer severely injured in the field. They had to put the animal down.

Five teenagers are facing charges. 18-year-old Christopher Jernigan is charged with night hunting. 19-year-old Timothy Stamatis faces night hunting and unlawful possession charges.

Three juveniles, whose names were not released, were also charged with night hunting.

If convicted on the misdemeanor charges, each faces a $500 penalty and the cost to replace the deer. This is could reach totals of $15,000.

Officials say they would also lose their hunting licenses for two years.

 “You don’t know what to say to people who commit crimes like these,” Craft said. “In the early stage of the investigation, it does not appear they were trying to feed their families.”

Deer hunting season ended Jan. 1, and nighttime deer hunting is illegal.

***WRAL contributed to this post.***

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