13-year-old charged with two murders escapes custody in North Carolina

Officials said they have concerns for public safety due to the teen's "prior history of assaultive and unpredictable behavior."

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By Doha Madani

A 13-year-old boy who is facing two first-degree murder charges escaped authorities in Lumberton, North Carolina, after an appearance in juvenile court Tuesday.

The young teen, identified only as Jericho W., escaped from social services' custody at about 12:10 p.m. local time while wearing leg restraints and no shoes, according to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff's office said the boy was in court facing two counts of first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon charges.

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Jericho was last seen wearing a white shirt and beige pants. He's also described as being about 5 feet tall and approximately 110 pounds.

Although state law typically prohibits law enforcement agencies from releasing photographs of juveniles, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety issued a photo of Jericho so that the public could call police to report any sightings.

"Division officials have a high degree of concern for the safety of both the juvenile and the public, due to a prior history of assaultive and unpredictable behavior," the department said.

The department said on its Facebook page that Jericho has been in custody at the Cumberland Juvenile Detention Center since Oct. 14. but did not detail the criminal case against him.

The 13-year-old boy appeared to be connected to a murder case from mid-October when deputies found two brothers, Frank Thomas, 34, and Adam Thomas, 33, dead in their home, according to NBC affiliate WRAL.

A 19-year-old and 13-year-old were arrested on two counts of first-degree murder in the case, WRAL reported on October 16. The older teen was also charged with conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and robbery with a dangerous weapon at the time.

Anthony Cusumano contributed.