The murder of a high school football player and honor roll student in Greenville, South Carolina is making headlines as police investigate the series of events that led to the young man’s untimely death.
16-year-old Joshua Meeks, an 11th-grade student at Mauldin High School, was found dead by authorities over an apparent drug deal that went bad.
Here are some things you need to know about Joshua Meeks and his murder:
1Joshua Meeks was found dead along a dirt road in Laurens County less than a day after being reported missing by his mother.
Joshua Meeks’ mother told police the last time she saw her son was on Tuesday night (Jan. 29) when he left out to go with friends to Cook Out, a fast food restaurant.
On Wednesday, police pinged Meek’s cellphone which led them to his car, a Toyota Corolla, parked at Rocky Creek Apartments on Woodruff Road. Inside Meeks’ car, police found “copious amounts” of blood covering the passenger seat.
Early Thursday morning, authorities found Meeks’ body near Deer Wood Circle and N. Deerwood Lane in Laurens County—about 26 miles away from where his car was found. The coroner said that he died from a gunshot wound.
2Three suspects, all teens, have been arrested in connection with Meeks’ murder.
18-year-old Sosa Mandiez Croft was arrested on Thursday (Jan. 31) in connection with Joshua Meeks’ murder. Croft was charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, armed robbery, and grand larceny.
“During the course of investigation, investigators learned that Croft and the victim had engaged in some sort of drug deal prior to Croft stealing the victim’s car and ultimately shooting him,” Lt. Ryan Flood said in a news release.
In addition to Croft being arrested, 18-year-old Lyric Mone Lawson was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
According to Fox Carolina, Lawson is accused of helping one of the two other suspects conceal and transport Meeks’ body after the killing. If convicted, Lawson faces up to 15 years in prison. She was granted a cash bond of $50,000, and if she makes bond, she must be monitored via GPS.
A 16-year-old male suspect was also arrested and charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, armed robbery and grand larceny. The 16-year-old’s name has not been released due to his age.
3Sosa Mandiez Croft claims that he wasn’t the one who murdered Joshua Meeks.
During his bond hearing on Thursday (Jan. 31), Sosa Mandiez Croft told Joshua Meeks’ family that he was not his killer and was going to cooperate with authorities to help them find the real shooter.
“To the victim’s family I understand that nothing I say can ever bring Joshua back but I’m going to let you know this now, I’m working with my lawyer and I’m real-life telling who the killer is, who the person, the monster is, who took your son away from you, the person who pulled the trigger that night,” Croft said to Meeks’ family.
He went on to add, “I’m going to come clean, and put it all out there; and tell my involvement of the whole situation so y’all can have closure even though it can’t bring him back.”
Croft also said that he “never had an issue with Josh” and that he “wouldn’t personally do this.”
Lt. Ryan Flood said the investigation into Meeks’ death remains active as investigators determine whether there were any additional suspects.
“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.”
Sosa Croft is currently being held without bond at the Greenville County Detention Center. An investigation is still ongoing and police are asking anyone with any additional information to call Crime Stoppers of Greenville at 23-CRIME (or 864-232-7463).
4Joshua Meeks played football for Mauldin High School and was said to be a good kid who was loved by all.
Lynn Mccraw Caroleo often volunteered at Mauldin High School and personally knew Joshua Meeks, who she says was an innocent kid that bothered no one.
“He was a quiet child. When you volunteer for five years at a school, you get to know so many children and their behaviors. Josh was always good. I’m just sick about this,” Caroleo told the Greenville News.
Not only was Meeks an honor student, but he also played for the school’s football team. He was an offensive lineman and his jersey number was 71.
Joshua’s football coach Harry Cabaniss tweeted a statement in response to his murder.
“Thank you to everyone today who has reached out in support for our players, school and community,” he wrote on January 31st. “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.”
Thank you to everyone today who has reached out in support for our players, school and community. 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.
— Harry Cabaniss (@CoachCab17) January 31, 2019
A GoFundMe was created to support the Meeks family in this difficult time. The online fundraiser, which was started Thursday night, has raised nearly $4,000 as of Saturday afternoon. It has a goal of $7,500.
According to the fundraiser, Meeks dreamed of going to Clemson University after high school.
“He was loved by so many, and will be missed dearly,” the fundraiser read. “This purpose of this fundraiser is to help the family in the midst of all of this chaos and tragedy Please consider a gift to assist this family.”