Pregnant NC woman was murdered, stuffed in suitcase, thrown into Neuse River, warrants reveal

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Warrants obtained by CBS 17 on Thursday reveal new details in the murder of a pregnant woman who was found stuffed in a suitcase near the Neuse River in Wake County.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday night that the body found inside a suitcase Monday morning off Allen Road was that of missing 28-year-old Brittany Smith.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office arrested Thomas Clayton Johnson, 37, and Emmalei Grace Trevathan, 24, during a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon in Raleigh. Both face charges of murder, murder of an unborn child, and concealment of a body.

According to warrants, Smith was found inside a purple suitcase that had been thrown into the Neuse River.

The search for the pregnant Wake County woman began last weekend after she had been reported missing several days earlier.

Thomas Clayton Johnson and Emmalei Grace Trevathan. (Courtesy of Raleigh-Wake CCBI)

Warrants for Johnson and Trevathan also show that Smith was six months pregnant with a boy.

“It’s safe to say that this is no accident,” said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker of Smith’s murder.

“No one deserves to die like that,” said Dale Williams, a friend of Smith. “Frightened, in pain, and alone.”

In the hours following the grisly discovery, Wake County Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant on a Wendell home.

“I offered to let them in because I had nothing to hide,” said Williams.

According to Williams, deputies weren’t interested in what was inside of his home but focused outside where Smith and her boyfriend, Cody Page, had been living in a tent for months.

“I didn’t have the means to put her up inside,” said Williams of Smith. “This certainly beats living under a bridge.”

When Smith disappeared Thursday night, Williams said Page was beside himself.

“Cody loved her very much,” said Williams.

Deputies questioned Page after Smith’s disappearance, but he wasn’t considered a suspect.

Johnson and Trevathan are being held in the Wake County Detention Center without bond. They both have court appearances scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

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