3 teens arrested in connection with high school football player's death

3 teens arrested in connection with high school football player's death

Football

3 teens arrested in connection with high school football player's death

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Investigators have arrested two more teens in connection with the shooting death of 16-year-old Joshua Meeks, an honor roll student and athlete at Mauldin High School (S.C.).

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 16-year-old juvenile and charged him Thursday night with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, armed robbery and grand larceny, according to arrest warrants.

Joshua Meeks (Photo: Provided/Harris Cabaniss)

His name is not being disclosed due to his age, said Lt. Ryan Flood, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office. The boy’s mother brought him to the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday and he was interviewed and arrested, Flood said.

The juvenile was denied bond when he appeared Friday in front of a magistrate at the Greenville County jail.

Investigators made the first arrest in the case early Thursday when they charged Sosa Mandiez Croft, 18, with murder, grand larceny, armed robbery and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office charged Lyric Mone Lawson, 18, with accessory after the fact to murder.

Croft was arrested inside his apartment. He refused to come out when deputies showed up and a S.W.A.T. team was activated, Flood said. Deputies went inside the apartment and found Croft hiding under his bed before the S.W.A.T. team arrived, Flood said.

Sosa Mandiez Croft (Photo: Provided/Greenville County Sheriff’s Office)

Meeks, who played on Mauldin High School’s varsity football team, was found dead near a roadway in Laurens County Thursday morning. Lawson, who graduated from Mauldin High in 2018 according to the school district, assisted with the concealment and transportation of the victim’s body, according to an arrest warrant.

Meeks died of a gunshot wound Tuesday night, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office. After he was reported missing Wednesday morning, Mauldin police officers found his blood-stained vehicle parked outside Croft’s apartment.

Flood said the fatal shooting stemmed from a drug deal. Investigators have declined to specify which drug the transaction involved.

More: Greenville teen charged after Mauldin HS student found shot to death in Laurens County

An incident report obtained from the Mauldin Police Department shows that Meeks had been missing since 9 p.m. Tuesday. His mother told police that Meeks had left with some friends to go to the Cookout on Woodruff Road.

Interviews with students revealed information about Meeks going to meet a new drug dealer, the report states.

Investigators used cell phone pings to later locate Meeks’ vehicle outside Croft’s apartment. Mauldin police notified the Sheriff’s Office and when deputies arrived they discovered “copious amounts” of blood in the passenger seat, on the driver’s side window, center console, the right passenger side of the vehicle and the right rear rim of Meeks’ 2008 Toyota Corolla.

“There are conflicting reports on who the shooter was. That is still under investigation,” Flood said. “We don’t know exactly when or where he was shot, but whenever we located that car, the body was not there.”

Flood said the investigation into Meeks’ death remains active as investigators determine whether there were any additional suspects.

The Mauldin High School community has received an outpouring of support in light of the teen’s death.

“Thank you to everyone today who has reached out in support for our players, school and community,” Mauldin’s varsity football coach, Harris Cabaniss, said in a Twitter post. “Today and the coming days will not be easy. Please continue to pray for the family of Josh Meeks. He was loved by all who knew him and will always be loved.”

An GoFundMe page was created to support the Meeks family. The fundraiser had raised more than $1,000 as of Friday afternoon. It was created Thursday night and has a goal of $7,500. Meeks had ambitions to go to Clemson University after high school, according to the fundraiser.

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