Missing 18-year-old found dead after online date: Police

ByNadine El-Bawab ABCNews logo
Monday, July 10, 2023

Two people have been arrested in connection with the murder of 18-year-old Jacob Williamson, a South Carolina native who went missing last week while on a date with someone they had met online.

Williamson was reported missing by family on Sunday morning, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina, which had been conducting the search after receiving a tip Williamson was at a residence in Monroe, North Carolina. Williamson hadn't been seen or heard from since Friday evening, authorities said.

Williamson had been talking to a man online for a month and was expecting to go on a date -- meeting him in person for the first time -- before Williamson went missing Friday, according to the sheriff's office.

Joshua Newton allegedly went to the restaurant where Williamson worked in Laurens, South Carolina, and drove them back to his place in Monroe, more than two hours away, according to the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office found a body believed to be Williamson on the side of a road a few miles away from Newton's house on Wednesday.

Newton and his live-in girlfriend, Victoria Smith, were both arrested. Police believe Newton killed Williamson at his home and Smith helped him hide the body, according to the sheriff's office.

Newton, 25, has been charged with first-degree murder and obstruction of justice while Smith, 22, has been charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim in this case as they begin to mourn this unimaginable loss. Over the past several days, the men and women of the Union County Sheriff's Office have fully dedicated themselves to this case and ensuring the people responsible for this tragic loss were brought to justice," Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement.

The homicide investigation remains ongoing.

Editorial Note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct name and pronouns of the victim.