(NBC NEWS) – Tonight on “Dateline,” after 15-year-old Danielle Locklear vanishes, investigators discover a creek where local teenagers hang out that may hold the answer to her disappearance.
Here’s a preview of Dennis Murphy’s report:
So this story is about a teenaged sweetie named Danielle. Danielle Locklear. It seems everyone in her orbit, young and old, got a boost from her sunny take on life, including her mom, Rowna.
Rowna Fowler: She was just a funny, witty girl. She stood out. She shined. And you would — you would notice her.
Danielle’s aunt, Chena Papa, was somewhere between an older sister and a surrogate mom for Danielle.
Danielle was living with aunt Chena’s family in Hope Mills, North Carolina while her mother worked her way through a painful divorce in another state.
By spring 2014, Danielle had been living with Chena and her grandparents for close to 10 months. They saw little Dannie maturing into a young woman.
But she was still too young to spend the night alone.
So on March 11, when Chena and her mom had to go over to Atlanta for a doctor’s appointment, Danielle’s grandfather was given the responsibility of keeping an eye on the teen.
It was a Tuesday. A school night. After supper, just before bed, Danielle asked her grandfather if she could drop off a school notebook at a classmate’s house a few doors away.
He said yes. And off Danielle went into the night. In Atlanta, Chena sensed something was off.
Dennis Murphy: You had that feeling?
Chena Papa: Could not even sleep. I had this overwhelming feeling of something bad happening.
Watch Friday’s “Dateline,” “The Creek” tonight on NBC4 at 9 p.m.