In a heartbreaking turn of events, the life of an 18-year-old teenager was cut short in South Carolina, leaving friends and family devastated. The victim, known to many as Makennah Williamson but preferring to be called Jacob, had recently come out as transgender and had moved in with family friend Promise Edwards in Laurens County.
According to Edwards, Jacob had been engaging in online conversations for about a month and a half with someone named Josh Newton. The two had decided to meet in person, prompting Edwards to express her concerns. In an effort to ensure Jacob’s safety, they both downloaded the family locator safety app, Life360, which allowed Edwards to track Jacob’s whereabouts.
Before the meeting, Edwards had numerous conversations with Jacob, emphasizing the importance of his well-being and even stating that she would call the police if anything seemed amiss. Jacob reassured her, claiming that Josh Newton was a kind and similar individual. Thus, on a fateful Friday evening, Newton picked up Jacob in Laurens County and drove back to his residence just outside Monroe.
The tweet below verifies the news:
“The most peace I have is knowing that the last month and a half, that Jacob was alive, he was allowed to experience things that he had never experienced in his life.” https://t.co/yIaWsDJiCj
— WSOCTV (@wsoctv) July 6, 2023
However, as the evening progressed, Edwards became worried when Jacob’s location turned off. She immediately reached out to him, expressing her concern. Jacob promised to turn his location back on and assured Edwards of his love. Unfortunately, this was the last conversation Edwards had with Jacob before contacting the authorities.
On Tuesday, the police discovered Jacob’s lifeless body along a rural road in close proximity to Newton’s home. Subsequently, Newton was charged with murder, and his live-in girlfriend, Victoria Smith, was charged with aiding and abetting after the fact.
Edwards, struggling with grief, reminisces about the joyful moments she shared with Jacob and the stuffed animal he held close each night. The pain of losing such an innocent individual, still clinging to a teddy bear, is unimaginable.
The father of the accused, Josh Newton, expressed his condolences to Jacob’s family, acknowledging their need for time to mourn. The community mourns the loss of Jacob, a vibrant young person who was finding happiness and authenticity in their identity. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution when interacting with strangers online, particularly for vulnerable individuals.
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