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Stepfather charged in South Lenoir High School volleyball player's death

Jessica Morgan Ramsey, a juniot at South Lenoir, died after an accidental shooting on Wednesday. (Photo: Lenoir Fusion Volleyball)

The stepfather of a South Lenoir High School student who died from a gunshot just over two months ago has been charged in her death.

Jessica Ramsey was 16-years-old at the time of her death. She was shot in the head at a home on Bryce Hardison Road in Deep Run on Monday, February 5, 2018 around 7:30 p.m. She died at a Greenville hospital two days later after being taken off life support.

Lathan Thurman, Ramsey's stepfather, has been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter in Duplin County, according to Duplin County Sheriff's Office officials.

Thurman turned himself into police Tuesday morning and was put under a $100,000 unsecured bond.

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A South Lenoir High School student has died following being shot in the head on Monday night.

Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office confirms to NewsChannel 12 that they will be handling Jessica Ramsey's autopsy. Her obituary was posted Wednesday afternoon. Her obituary said she died Wednesday.

Ramsey was in critical condition at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville earlier this week after she was shot in the head. Sheriff Blake Wallace said the Duplin County Sheriff's Office responded to a call on Bryce Hardison Road in Deep Run at approximately 7:30 p.m. The 16-year-old was found shot through the chin on their arrival.

The case is currently under investigation. Sheriff Wallace said he is not ruling the shooting accidental or intentional as the investigation has not concluded, but is calling the incident is a "tragedy."

NewsChannel 12 reporter Nate Belt spoke with several students at the school on Tuesday who said the student section was preparing several ways to show support for Ramsey during that night's rivalry basketball game with North Lenoir. That includes painting her number 14 -- Ramsey is a member of the volleyball team -- on their faces and holding signs of support for Ramsey.

Multiple statements from the school system were sent out after news of Ramsey's passing broke.

South Lenoir High School principal Steve Saint-Amand said the following:

"The South Lenoir High School family is mourning the loss of a student, a teammate and a friend. Jessica Morgan Ramsey, a junior at South Lenoir, will best be remembered for her love of volleyball and her strong academic performance in school. She also played travel volleyball year-round. She touched the lives of our staff and many of our students at South Lenoir during her three short years with us. Our hearts are heavy and our deepest condolences go to the family. We are here to offer our support to Jessica’s family and friends who cannot believe she is gone. We recognize the painful reality, but look to remember her joyful nature, to reaffirm our beliefs and to release Jessica’s spirit as we seek solace within our South Lenoir family and community. Rest in Peace, #14, you will always be a South Lenoir Blue Devil in our hearts."

Lenoir County Public Schools Superintendent Brent Williams said the following:

"On behalf of the entire LCPS family, I want to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Jessica Ramsey. We all were shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the accident and, later, by word that Jessica's struggle to maintain life had ended and that she had passed away. Today, our hearts are heavy with grief as we all join with Jessica's family and with the SLHS family in mourning the death of one of our own – a bright young lady who demonstrated success and unlimited potential in the classroom and on the field of athletic competition. Hers was, indeed, a life and a bright light that ended too soon. Within the overall sadness of this loss, we all can find comfort in considering the great and positive impact that Jessica’s life had on all who knew her. Our entire school system family will continue to keep Jessica’s family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time of loss and healing."

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