Two ECU students killed in a fatal car crash and one from Sneads Ferry

A fatal car crash in Charleston, SC on Friday killed two East Carolina University (ECU) students, as well as the driver of another car and seriously injured two more students, officials said Saturday. One student in the crash was one of Onslow’s own from Sneads Ferry, NC, 18-year-old James Edwin Stanley “Beau”.

Shea Crothers, 22, of 17 Avenue F, Charlotte, and James Edwin (Beau) Stanley, 18, of 533 Oyster Rock Lane, Sneads Ferry, were killed along with Walter Lee Prezzy Jr., 51, of 352 Curve Inn Road, Holly Hill, S.C., the Orangeburg County coroner said as reported by the Orangeburg Times & Democrat, a local newspaper.

Shea Crothers
Beau (James Stanley) Photo Credit: Sneads Ferry Blog

Crothers and Stanley were traveling with two other students when their car collided with the car driven by Prezzy, Trooper 1st Class Tyler Tidwell told the Times & Democrat on Friday. The names of the two other students were not available.

ECU reported Saturday morning in a press release,

Two students died and two students were seriously injured in the crash and are in the hospital. All four students are members of ECU’s fraternity and sorority community.

Crisis counseling is available to anyone who needs it, the news release on the ECU site said.

“The full breadth of our staff and resources will be available to the students, faculty and staff on our campus,” said Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs. “We will have crisis counselors as well as members of the Dean of Students Office, the Division of Student Affairs and ECU’s entire community ready to assist our students through this tragic time.”

The students were in a 2016 Honda on U.S. 15 between I-26 and Holly Hill, about an hour northwest of Charleston, Trooper Tidwell reported. The Honda collided with a northbound 1999 Acura sedan.

A passenger also was in the Acura. That passenger and the two ECU students who were injured were hospitalized, Trooper 1st Class Tidwell reported.

U.S. 15 is a two-lane highway, Tidwell said. The Acura was headed north on the road toward Holly Hill and the Honda was traveling south toward I-26.

No information about speed, seatbelts or possible causes has been made available as of yet. Tidwell said a specialized S.C. Highway Patrol unit is reviewing the incident and further information will follow.

“There are no words to express the amount of sadness we are feeling today,” Chancellor Cecil Staton said in the university news release. “This is truly devastating news, and we ask that all Pirates come together and join me in holding these students and their families deeply in our hearts and prayers during this unspeakable time.”


Anyone needing to speak to a counselor this weekend may contact 252-328-6661 and select option “2” to speak with a crisis counselor.

Services will be available all next week to students by visiting the ECU Center for Counseling and Student Development in Umstead Hall.





Allen County coroner released case “facts” in matters of Taemon Blair

Allen County Sheriff’s Office released a 4-page report this week after Taemon Blair’s story “broke the internet” by going viral. Blair’s tragic and mysterious death at what was believed to be a positive time in his life leaves his family uneasy and wanting an investigation further into his death. Allen Co. authorities have ruled Blair’s death a suicide by hanging and the internet says it was a lynching. In many posts it has been alleged that Blair’s hands were bound, authorities confirmed that to be false. Much of the black community believes that black people do not commit suicide by hangings due to the history of our ancestors being lynched. Whereas, statistical data shows that black americans have in fact chosen this method in the past. However, the method utilized and often the cause of suicide is usually tied to cultural, religious and family beliefs or matters per The National Center for Biotechnology Information.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone or call the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. #TaemonBlair #MysteryOfTaemonBlair

Taemon Blair was found March 14th in a semi cab truck that he operated, parked in the 9100 block of Bluffton Rd unresponsive. The death of the 21-year-old man who was reportedly found hanged in the sleeper portion of his tractor-trailer truck cabin in Fort Wayne, IN. The reports of his death have gone viral nationally across social media posts. The following week, the Allen Co. Coroner’s Office, on March 21st, said the 21-year-old, a Huntersville, North Carolina native, had died of asphyxia due to hanging and the death ruled a suicide.

Social media posts suggest that Blair did not die by suicide, yet that he was “lynched”. There is the implication by many of these social media posts that “black men do not hang themselves…” because of the historical context tied to hangings it is believed in the “black community” that black Americans do not suicide by hangings. The The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) statistical data reports, “Between 2000 and 2010, suicide by hanging/suffocation rose by 104% (i.e., more than doubled) for those aged 45–59 years and increased steadily in all other age groups except those aged ≥70 years (Table 1), for whom there was a small decline.”-(NCBI)

Hanging/suffocation is almost as lethal as firearm use as a means of suicide. The lack of an increase in case fatality rates indicates that the increase in mortality rates from suicide by hanging/suffocation is related to an increase in suicide attempts by this method. The dramatic increase in suicide by hanging in the U.S. is of special concern because of the widespread availability of rope and other accessories used in hanging. Prevention strategies that are effective within inpatient settings should be given greater attention for their potential to reduce suicide in other settings as well. Such strategies include installing break-away closet bars, lowering the height of anchor points, and increasing the awareness of risk indicators. –(NCBI, 2013)

The American Suicide Prevention Foundation (ASFP) reports,  “In 2017, the highest U.S. age-adjusted suicide rate was among Whites (15.85) and the second highest rate was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (13.42). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Black or African Americans (6.61) and Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.59).

In 2017, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little more than half (50.57%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 27.72% and poisoning at 13.89%.”

Some posts have even gone as far as to say that he was beaten and hanged with his hands bound up but Allen County authorities have reported that as false.

This young man’s tragic end has gone as far to gain interest amongst popular celebrity artists like Clifford Harris Jr. aka T.I ., Big Boi, and Usher Raymonds.

On Thursday, the Allen County Coroner’s Office released a 4-page report in attempts to correct “inaccurate information being spread across social media.” The Onslow Beat has a general standard that follows the same guidelines as most MSM organizations and refrains from publishing articles with suicides with the exceptions of public places, government officials and public figures but in this case, due to the viral nature and the four-page report released, an exception has also been made in this case.

Taemon-Blair Coroner release

Taemon’s brother, Dee Smith,  started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the burial. On the GFM, he stated,

“Taemon went through a rough patch in his life. He went to jail for a year. When he got out he promised to change his life. He went and got his diploma. He had straight A’s in HS. He has always been on the A honor roll.  My brother finally got his life on track! He has a beautiful girlfriend. He also was having a baby.  He landed a job driving 18 wheeler trucks. He went on the road to make money for his family. Now graduated with straight A’s, and a really good job, he was on the track of becoming a great man.”

Allen County Sheriff’s Office reported to Abby Jackson, no foul play suspected.

Smith full of pain and grief for his younger brother, told Fox46, “…there’s just a lot of unanswered questions for them to rule it a suicide…”  Watch that clip here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, there’s help for you, your life is valuable and most hardships are only temporary that there are solutions for. Don’t take a permanent measure to a temporary situation. Please call the National Suicide Hotline or utilize the online chat option and talk to someone, completely confidential.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours every day. 


Another article related to suicide and the black community worth the read:


Disclaimer: The Onslow Beat has a mission of providing information that may be beneficial in the prevention of suicides, mental health & wellness with this particular article regardless of what speculations, assumptions are made in this particular case. This is not an endorsement of stating in agreement or disagreement that Blair committed suicide but it is an acknowledgment that nonetheless, suicide is a real issue in the black community, as well as depression, PTSD and the Black Male. Many individuals in the black community are often forced to suppress feelings verses expressing them, discouraged from crying, discouraged from stating or feeling fear or merely saying, “I am not okay.” The Black community oftentimes shuns the idea of mental health and mental illness has been “taboo” and “a white thing” when in fact it is a human thing, there’s no discrimination in matters of mental illness and there should not be any in light of mental health and wellness. The Onslow Beat further has a moral and ethical responsibility to the public to provide the facts presented from authorities, statements from family or those relevant to the case, as well as provide unbiased and informative information to create betterment in our society as a whole through an independent press. The Onslow Beat wants the audience to read and think for yourself, not be swayed and programmed. That is the beauty of an independent FREE press. 

UPDATE: Search for missing Charlotte woman continues after her car was found at Lake Wylie

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Missing Person Unit is continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Vatsla Watkins.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Missing Person Unit is continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Vatsla Watkins.

Friday, March 22, 2019 at around 8:30 a.m., officers in the Steele Creek Division located the victim’s vehicle near the 16300 block of York Road.  Officers on scene partnered with the CMPD’s Missing Person Unit, Aviation Unit, Canine Unit, Lake Unit and CFD to canvass the area in attempts to locate Ms. Watkins.  At approximately 5:00 p.m., this search concluded; however, the victim was not located.  Detectives with the Missing Person Unit are continuing their efforts in locating Ms. Watkins. Consultation with Charlotte Fire will make decisions on search efforts for tomorrow, Saturday, March 23rd.

Anyone who sees or has information about Vatsla Watkins is asked to call 911 immediately. In addition, you may also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.  Detective Tuttle is the assigned detective for this case and his number is 704-336-8340.

UPDATE: Former Mecklenburg GOP Chairman’s wife Vatsla Watkins found in Lake Wylie

MISSING: Wife of Former Mecklenburg Co. GOP Chairman Curtis Watkins, has been missing since Monday from their Charlotte home. Vatsla Watkins, age 39, last seen Monday leaving their home and hasn’t been seen or heard from by family or friends since.

UPDATE: On March 31, 2019 at 5:45 PM a 911 call came in stating a person was floating in Lake Wylie by the Buster Boyd Bridge. After further investigation by detectives, the victim was identified as that’s the Watkins. She was reported missing on 03/19/19. There is no foul play suspected at this time. The cause of death is under investigation.

CMPD’s Lake Wylie Boat Patrol and the Charlotte Fire Department responded to the scene Sunday. The command center for the investigation was 16310 York Road at Pier 49 Marina.

Vatsla Watkins is the wife of the former Mecklenburg Co. GOP Chairman, Curtis Watkins.

Vatsla Watkins was a DIY Fashion Blogger who offered instructions and tutorials on how to make your own clothing.

Watch one of her short clips here from YouTube.

Police are looking for a missing woman who was last seen leaving her Charlotte, NC home on the morning of Monday, March 18th.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department reports that, 39-year-old Vatsla Watkins is missing and are asking for the public’s help to find her.

CMPD met with Watkins’s family on March 18 at apx 1 p.m.

Watkins is said to have left the residence during the early morning hours in her silver, 2004 Mercedes-Benz C230. This car is described as a four-door sedan with a Carolina Panthers North Carolina license plate: 8215CP.

Watkins is described as:

• HEIGHT: 5′4″

•HAIR COLOR: black

•EYES: brown

•CLOTHING DESCRIPTION: She was last seen wearing and black lightweight jacket and blue jeans.

Watkins has not been seen or heard from by her family and friends since she left.

Watkins is the wife of former Mecklenburg Co. GOP Chairman, Curtis Watkins.

Anyone who sees, has seen Watkins, her vehicle or has information about Watkins or her vehicle is asked to call 911 immediately or call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Air Force vet disappeared in Union Co. last month without a trace


Name: Forrest Steven Treat
Alias/AKA/Nickname: Fin
Age: 29-years-old
Race: White
Gender: Male
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 155lbs (pounds)
Hair color: Brown
Eye color: Hazel

Forrest Steven Treat was last seen around 11:00am on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 walking on Glen Hollow Drive (Arbor Glen) near Edgeview Drive, Indian Trail, NC wearing a dark jacket, light blue checkered shirt and dark blue pants.

Treat is seen on neighbors surveillance video from neighboring homes place his cellphone and wallet in his work truck before he walked down the sidewalk.

Union Co. Sheriff’s Office updated the following day of the disappearance stating, “Deputies and detectives have spent many hours searching for 29-year-old Forrest Stephen Treat of Glen Hollow Drive located in the Arbor Glen subdivision in Indian Trail. Treat was reported missing yesterday afternoon. Surveillance camera footage from neighborhood homes show Treat walking on Glen Hollow Drive near Edgeview Drive at approximately 11:00 am yesterday.

After searching in and around Arbor Glen and surrounding areas using several K-9s, Treat remains missing. We continue to follow leads provided by the public. If you have information about Treat or believe you might have seen him, please call 911 or the UCSO.”

Forrest served in the U.S. Air Force and doesn’t have any sort of criminal history. Search was conducted on foot and aerial approach as well. Forrest’s family reported that this is not in Treat’s character and doesn’t make any sense.

As more time passes, the deeper the concern the family and friends have grows immensely.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office issued another release yesterday, March 5, 2019 stating the search continues by UCSO deputies and detectives for clues in the disappearance of Forrest “Fin” Treat.


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If you have information concerning his whereabouts or the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, please call the Union County Sheriff’s Office, 704-283-3789, Crimestoppers at 704-283-5600 or dial 9-11.