The body of a Raleigh, North Carolina teenager was found in a wooded area after she was involved in a car accident and then wandered away from the scene.
The mystery of what happened to Lauren Jenkins, 17, has gripped the North Carolina community. Her cause of death is not yet clear, and authorities are conducting an autopsy to see how she died.
Lauren was a popular high school senior.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lauren Was Missing for Several Days After Causing a Car Crash & Disappearing on Foot
Lauren failed to yield and turned in front of another car, causing a crash, before she was found dead in the woods. However, authorities say it’s not yet clear whether the crash caused her death.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Department says the crash occurred at an intersection on Friday, March 17. “Lauren was last seen leaving the scene on foot and had not been seen or heard from by her family since the accident,” reported ABC 7 Chicago.
On Facebook, Jenkins wrote that she attended Leesville High School.
Her public profile contains selfies and photos of Jenkins on trips, with friends, and with family members.
2. Lauren’s Body Was Found in a Wooded Area a Few Days Later
Authorities found Lauren’s body in a wooded area on Sunday, March 19, reported WRAL-TV.
The body was discovered “in a wooded area near Wood Lawn Drive and the Springdale Estates neighborhood,” reported the television station.
“Sheriff’s deputies and officers were searching the area around 7 a.m. when a member of the K-9 unit picked up the teen’s scent,” reported WRAL.
3. Social Media Filled With Friends & Classmates Remembering the Student by Wearing Her Favorite Color, Red
On social media, many people posted prayers for Lauren and her family. Friends expressed shock, saying they were hopeful that Lauren was at a friend’s house after the crash, according to WRAL.
According to WTVD, Lauren, a high school senior, favored the color red so some of her classmates wore it to school, where there was a moment of silence in her memory.
4. Authorities Are Conducting Tests to See Whether Jenkins Had Any Alcohol in Her System
In an attempt to unravel the mystery of how she died, authorities are conducting tests on Jenkins’ body to see whether she had alcohol in her system.
According to WTVD-TV, “an open container of liquor was found” in the car after the accident.
However, despite the container being found, authorities said they are not clear whether alcohol or drugs played any role in the accident or in Lauren’s death, WTVD reported. WNCN-TV reported that the container was a whiskey bottle.
Jenkins’ family released a statement, according to WTVD, which said: “We would like to thank all of those who have reached out to help our daughter, to those who shared our daughter’s photo on social media, and to all of those who put their lives on hold to help resolves this nightmare. Out of respect for our family, we ask that you give us the privacy and time we need to mourn this enormous loss. We know there are unanswered questions and in time, they will be resolved. In the meantime, please continue to keep Lauren, her family, and her friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
5. Two Other People Were in the Car During the Accident
Two other people – whose names have not been released – were in the car when it crashed, according to ABC 7.
The television station reported that both of those people suffered injuries. According to WCNC-TV, authorities said that “a 17-year-old female who was in the front right passenger seat suffered a concussion during the accident and a 19-year-old male in the backseat suffered broken bones and required stitches both were treated and released from the hospital.”