Three Charged With Murder, Dismemberment Of Rowan County Missing Teen

ROWAN COUNTY, NC — The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office says three suspects have been charged in connection to the death and dismemberment of a missing Rowan County teen.

Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten held a news conference Thursday afternoon to provide updates on the case. You can watch that full video below.

Sheriff Auten says of the crime, “It just appears that it was a very, allegedly, a very small transaction for drugs that just went crazy, haywire, just completely out of hand.”

The RCSO says the victim, 19-year-old Michael Earley, allegedly met with the suspects, which included Carlos Rosas, Jr., on Sunday night to buy a small amount of marijuana. Authorities say the two men got into a disagreement that resulted in Earley’s death.

Rosas, 19, then reportedly drove Earley’s body to a secluded location where he proceeded to partially dismember him and bury the remains.

“Some of the people involved knew each other and some did not,” says Auten. “There’s no indication that the suspect and the victim knew each other prior to this event.”

“He didn’t deserve any of this,” said Earley’s girlfriend Katelyn Smith, “he was a good person.”

Investigators arrested Rosas and 18-year-old Madison Harrington Wednesday night in connection to the crime.

Rosas, of Rockwell, NC, is charged with Murder and Felony Concealment of Death. Harrington, of Salisbury, is charged with Felony Accessory After the Fact for allegedly helping Rosas conceal the murder.

A third suspect, 19-year-old Lauren Grimes was arrested on Thursday and charged with Felony Accessory After the Fact.

All three suspects have a first court appearance scheduled for Friday morning.

Before becoming a homicide investigation, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office was investigating Earley’s disappearance as a missing person case. Smith reported him missing around 9:40pm on Monday, but told authorities he was last seen around 10pm Sunday night.

“We talked about marriage, we talked about kids in the future,” said Smith, “it’s just heart breaking and really hard for a lot of people right now.”