Update (4:10 p.m.)

The family of Aiyonna Clarice Barrett has released a statement on her death:

This is devastating news for our family. Aiyonna was a prized member of our family, and we were also eagerly awaiting the arrival of her baby girl. We are in shock and are looking forward for more information to be revealed by the law enforcement investigation on how and why this happened.

Nothing will justify Aiyonna and her baby girl being taken away from us, but we expect justice to be served on the person who took them from us. We fully support law enforcement in their efforts to find out who did this and hope that person is found immediately and arrested.

We are aware of numerous people speaking out on social media about their theories, but non of those statements should be regarded as being made on behalf of our family. We appreciate everyone’s prayers and support during this difficult time.

Otherwise, we will not comment further as this is an ongoing investigation.

Original story

An 18-year-old Sanford woman and her unborn child were found dead inside a vehicle off a dirt road in Southern Pines Sunday night, several media outlets are reporting.

Aiyonna Clarice Barrett was found in a car off an unpaved road near South Gaines Street around 8 p.m. Sunday. Southern Pines Police reported Monday morning that Barrett was pregnant at the time of her death and that the unborn child also died. According to the department’s press release, Barrett’s death is not considered to be “random” and that an investigation is under way. No other details about her death have been released.

“The Southern Pines Police Department has the responsibility to the public and the deceased, to ensure that this investigation is neither tainted nor jeopardized,” Police Chief Robert Temme said. “Therefore, no additional information will be released at this time. The public information function of the Southern Pines Police Department remains steadfast in providing accurate and timely information to the community, which is often sensitive in nature.”

According to CBS17 in Raleigh, an autopsy will be performed today.

No other information about Barrett has been released. Updates to come.

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