An 18-year-old was killed after meeting a stranger for a first date in North Carolina. Kierstyn Williamson, who had recently come out as trans and asked to be referred to as Jacob, was found dead in Pageland, with two suspects now in custody for the murder. Promise Edwards, a family friend who’s known Williamson since he was a child, called the death “the worst feeling I could ever feel,” per WSOC-TV.
Edwards shared that Williamson had moved in with her in Laurens County, South Carolina after coming out as trans a few weeks ago. It was a freeing experience for Jacob that Edwards was happy to be a part of. “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. Making genuine friends, being happy and himself,” she said.
She went on to reveal that Jacob had been talking to a man named Josh Newton online for about a month before deciding to meet him in person. Edwards was concerned and insisted that Jacob download a family locator app called Life360 so she could keep tabs on him. “If your phone goes off at any point in time I am going to call police’ — we had a whole in-depth conversation for days before this,” Edwards said. “And all Jacob kept saying is ‘it’ll be fine, he’s the sweetest, we are so much alike.’”
Newton is said to have picked Jacob up in Laurens County before driving back to his home near Monroe. There, Jacob was murdered, with police finding his body days later off a rural road in South Carolina close to Newton’s home. Josh Newton has since been charged with Jacob Williamson’s murder and his live-in girlfriend, Victoria Smith, has been charged with accessory after the fact.
Edwards is devastated at the loss of such a beautiful young life, saying, “To think somebody could take somebody as innocent as that — that still sleeps with a teddy bear — it’s the worst feeling I could ever feel right now.”