The Dateline episode “The Creek” investigates the March 2014 disappearance of 15-year-old Danielle “Dannie” Locklear. The high school freshman from Hope Mills, North Carolina fell in love with a senior named Je’Michael Malloy. When Danielle went missing, the entire town was in a frantic search. By “The Creek” – a remote, favorite hangout for teenagers – they found the word “help” scrawled in the dirt.
At the time, Malloy, 17, told authorities that Danielle had told him she wanted to kill herself. 23 days later her body was found in a river. She had been strangled and suffocated with a sock in her mouth. Ropes were tied around her which were attached to cinderblocks. Malloy later admitted to killing Locklear. He claimed Locklear lied and told him she was pregnant which “freaked him out.” Malloy’s best friend Dominic Lock, 18, who was with Malloy and Locklear that night, helped Malloy dump Locklear’s body into the river.
Both young men eventually pleaded guilty – Malloy to murder in the second degree (25 years in prison); Lock to accessory to murder (six years in prison). Danielle Locklear’s mother Rowna Fowler says Malloy has sent her several letters from prison. According to Crime Watch Daily, “Most of them remain unopened. She calls them garbage.” Malloy’s mother, Cynthia Malloy, says the Malloys and Locklears are related. See clip below. Dateline airs Fridays at 9pm on NBC.