NC teen charged ex-deputy’s murder had relationship with him, documents say


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Eighteen-year-old Caitlyn Ridgeway spoke softly in front of the Onslow County judge Wednesday morning for her first court appearance.

Ridgeway, from Jacksonville, was arrested late Tuesday afternoon and charged with murder in the death of former Onslow County deputy William Joseph Clifton.


The body of Clifton, 48, of Richlands, was found at 6:30 a.m.on Friday, July 7. in Woodlands Park.

He died from multiple gunshot wounds and blunt force trauma to the head.

One week later, Will James Welch, Jr., 18, of Jacksonville was charged with an open count of murder in connection with the incident. He is being held without bail.

Ridgeway and Welch were last students at Jacksonville High school in April of this year.

Clifton was a school resource officer at Southwest High School.

According to court documents, Ridgeway sought protection from Clifton last year.

The documents states Ridgeway and Clifton were in a relationship and he sent her pictures of guns and pills, threatened her and came to her job.

He also tied her to a bed twice, according to the documents.

The February 2016 order said Clifton must stay away from Ridgeway and her family for one year.

The order also states Clifton contacted the teen after being told not to while an internal investigation was ongoing in the Sheriff’s Department.

EARLIER: 2 NC teens now charged in murder of ex-deputy

Clifton resigned from the Sheriff’s Office at the time of the protective order.

Neighbors who live in the area near Ridgeway’s former home say she was quiet, and they didn’t see her out and about too often.

Ridgeway’s next court date is August 16 and Welch’s court date is August 7.

Both are being held under no bond, and Ridgeway will have a court appointed attorney.

“Jacksonville Police Detectives and NCIS Carolinas Field Office Special Agents have worked this joint investigation together since the morning of Friday, July 7 and conferred regularly with the Onslow County District Attorney’s Office” said Captain Ashley Weaver, JPD Investigative Services Supervisor. “We do not anticipate additional arrests. The investigation is open and we are unable to release additional information at this time.”


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