Two arrested for murder of woman found in suitcase

Thomas Clayton Johnson, 37, and Emmalei Grace Trevathan, 24, of Wake County, North Carolina. [Image credit: Raleigh-Wake CCBI]

On Wednesday, February 10, 37-year-old Thomas Clayton Johnson and 24-year-old Emmalei Grace Trevathan were both arrested during a traffic stop in Raleigh, North Carolina.  They have both been charged with murder, murder of an unborn child, and concealment of a body.


They made their first appearance in court on February 11 where they were ordered to be held without bail.  They are being assigned public defenders ahead of their next court date which is March 4 at 9:00 am.


They remain in custody at the Wake County Detention Center.


At this time, no motive has been disclosed in the killing of 28-year-old Brittany Smith whose body was found in a suitcase along the Neuse river earlier in the week.  Her cause of death has been ruled as strangulation.


At the time of her death, Smith was 6 months pregnant with a son.


During a press conference announcing the arrests, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker stated that the investigation is still ongoing so there was only so much information that could be discussed at the time with relation to how they arrived at Johnson and Trevathan being the suspects. He promised to disclose more information as it became possible.