Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Disappearance and Murder of Cion Carroll

(image source)

Cion Carroll was due for a fresh start during the fall of 2022. The 17-year-old had recently moved to Kenbridge, Virginia, to live with his grandparents. Cion is originally from Richmond, but his mother opted to relocate him to Kenbridge in hopes that he could escape from the violent neighborhoods in his hometown. This arrangement appeared to be going well for Cion at first. He got a job at a local Popeyes, which he enjoyed, and he also was enrolled as a senior at a local high school. Due to all of this, Cion's family members were both shocked and baffled when he vanished on the evening of November 2nd, 2022. 

According to reports, Cion left his grandparent's home around 10:00 PM on November 2nd and never returned. His grandmother reported him missing the following day. Police reportedly treated Cion's case as a runaway, despite the fact that he did not take his medications or other personal items with him when he left the house. Cion's family members immediately knew his disappearance was out of character, and they never believed he left on his own accord. 

Frustrated with the local police's lack of effort, Cion's loved ones decided to take matters into their own hands. They used a location-based app to track the last known location of Cion's cell phone. Their results indicated that Cion's phone pinged at a local sex offender's house before it either died or was shut off. Police reportedly did not question said offender until after Cion's family brought this information to their attention. Even then, the police stated that they did not have enough evidence to search the residence. 

On November 12th, 2022, Cion's family was notified that his body had been found in a shallow grave in a wooded area of Lunenberg County. An autopsy confirmed that he had been shot and dismembered. It quickly became apparent that Cion had been brutally murdered - but many questions still remain. Namely: who killed Cion, and why?

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Disappearance in a small town.

Kenbridge, Virginia. (image source)

Kenbridge, Virginia is a small town with a population of roughly 1,110 residents. Located approximately 60 miles from Richmond, Kenbridge was once known for being a thriving tobacco farming town. Cion Carroll moved to Kenbridge just a few months before his murder.

As previously mentioned, Cion vanished after leaving his grandparents' house on the evening of November 2nd, 2022. It is unknown where he was going, but he left his bike behind - indicating that he either left on foot or was picked up by an unknown party. Cion never returned home, which immediately raised red flags for his family. He left behind his earbuds, which was very unusual, and he also left behind his daily medication. 

After Cion was reported missing, his family members initially heard more theories from the local residents than they did from police. Neighbors and friends of Cion's grandparents listened in on local police scanners, but it appears that they did not hear any accurate information. In fact, at one point, a neighbor reportedly heard police say that they believed Cion had taken his own life. This was disproved just days later once Cion's body was found, and it is still unclear how police came to that theory.

The cell phone location.

As also previously stated, Cion's family members eventually decided to use a location-based app to track Cion's cell phone location. Their findings indicated that Cion's phone was last located at a local sex offender's home. 

Cion's family members decided to visit the man's house themselves to see if he would provide any information about Cion's whereabouts. Prior to this, police had not looked into this man. According to Cion's mother, the police showed up to question this man only after Cion's family had confronted him first. It appears that police still did not gain enough information to search this man's house. When Cion's family questioned this, they were reportedly told that the local police did not have the same "manpower" than that of a big city police department.

Cion's mother also said that the police tried to come up with other reasons that Cion's phone pinged at that location. Maybe it pinged as someone was making a U-turn in the driveway, or maybe someone tossed it in that location. Neither reason has been disproved, however they seem less likely, as Cion's phone was never recovered, nor did it ping at any other location after pinging at the sex offender's residence. 

The offender.

The sex offender's name has yet to be publicly revealed, but according to an article on Oxygen.com, the offender was "convicted in 2000 for committing aggravated sexual battery against a person under 13 years of age." This was inevitably worrisome to Cion's family members when they learned that Cion's phone had pinged at this man's residence, but police seemed less concerned.

Even more noteworthy, WTVR reported that this man's name was "scrubbed from the sex offender registry within days of Cion's body being found." This leads to questions about whether or not a cover-up is happening regarding this man and his potential involvement in Cion's case.

Finding Cion.

Cion's family members told reporters that they were contacted by Kenbridge Police Chief Ben Barnes on November 12th, 2022, in regard to a shallow grave that had been found. Barnes reportedly told the family that he had found “disturbed dirt” in a wooded area north of Kenbridge. Upon further investigation, the "disturbed dirt" turned out to be a shallow grave containing Cion's remains.

The remains were located on Seay Way - just a few miles away from the sex offender's home where Cion's cell phone last pinged. There are still questions about how, exactly, the remains were found. Cion's family said that Chief Barnes claimed to find the gravesite, but this has not been confirmed by the police department. Police also declined to reveal exactly how Cion died, but his family has shared that he was shot, dismembered, and lye was poured on his body. Many have questioned what would motivate someone to kill a teenager in such a violent way.

Questions for police.

There are many remaining questions about the investigation into Cion's disappearance and death. Cion's family members never believed he was a runaway, so it is unknown why police were so quick to label him as such. Cion's family feels that the authorities did not take the necessary measures when searching for him. 

It's also unknown if police just stumbled upon Cion's remains, or if a tipster led to them to his gravesite. If it was, in fact, a tipster, how did they know where to find Cion? Does this person have any other information about Cion's murder? Both Cion's family members and reporters alike have attempted to come into contact with police about this, but their calls have gone unanswered. 

In January of 2023, it was noted that Chief Barnes resigned from his position. At just 26-years-old, it's not known why Barnes decided to resign at this point in his career. Many have speculated that he resigned due to Cion's case, but this has not been confirmed. 

Many have questioned if Cion's case is part of a larger issue of police corruption in the small town of Kenbridge. The police have remained tight-lipped amongst many unusual occurrences, including the sex offender's name being scrubbed from the registry. If the truth about Cion's case is being covered up, there are potentially other cases that are being covered up as well. 

Theories.

The most prominent theory in Cion's case is that the sex offender is responsible for his murder. Some theorize the sex offender alone is guilty, while others theorize that the police are somehow involved in covering it up as well.

Another report states that Cion was suspected of being involved in a shooting in Henrico County prior to his move to Kenbridge. It is not known if this plays a role in his death, but it is certainly plausible. 

Where the case stands.

As of today, Cion Carroll's murder remains unsolved. His family members have vowed to continue to fight for justice. 

The Virginia State Police are now in charge of the investigation. If you have any information that could help solve Cion's murder, please contact authorities at 1-434-352-3478.

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Sources:
Oxygen
WRIC Richmond
WTVR

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