Investigators in Harnett County announced that a body found Thursday belonged to a teen who had been missing since Tuesday.

17-year-old James Devon Snipes was reported missing Tuesday after deputies in Lee County received a call that Snipes was missing and his vehicle had been stolen. He had been last seen at home on Tuesday night.

According to a Facebook post from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, deputies in Lee County and officers with the Sanford Police Department on Wednesday reported finding the vehicle, a 2023 Hyundai Tucson, being driven by someone else. After a chase, the driver of the vehicle and their passengers — none of whose names were released — were all detained. At that time, deputies said Snipes’ whereabouts remained unknown. Investigators did locate firearms inside of the vehicle, one of which was stolen from Harnett County.


Deputies continued the investigation and obtained a lead to search a wooded area off of Buffalo Lakes Road south of Sanford. During the search, deputies discovered a body that was soon identified as Snipes.

No other information was released, other than to say the Lee and Harnett sheriff’s offices are working the case together.

Central Carolina YouthBuild, a GED and adult high school diploma program for young people “who have previously been met with barriers,” posted a tribute to Snipes on Thursday: “We have lost a light that shined so bright he gave the sun a run for its money.” According to the post, Snipes was a YouthBuild graduate who was in the process of enrolling at Central Carolina Community College’s barber program.