Authorities in North Carolina will not seek the death penalty for Nate Summerfield, the Ashland man accused of killing his girlfriend Lynn Jackenheimer last year.
SALVO, N.C. - Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy. For the family of missing Ashland mother Lynn Jackenheimer, it's the latter.
The 33-year-old mother of two went on vacation with her kids to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in early July. Jackenheimer's ex-boyfriend, Nate Summerfield, 27, went along. Only Summerfield and the kids returned home to Ashland on July 7. But shortly after Summerfield dropped off their 3-year-old son and Jackenheimer's 13-year-old daughter at a family friend's house, he disappeared, authorities said.
Not long after Summerfield took off, police dubbed him a person of interest in the disappearance of Jackenheimer. Summerfield's brother also called police, telling them about a disturbing phone call he just got from his brother: Summerfield said he strangled Jackenheimer to death.
On July 14, a construction worker found a body in a bag about 30 minutes from where Jackenheimer was last seen. For her family, it's been a matter of continuing to play the waiting game.
Our crews at the scene in North Carolina interviewed Jackenheimer's father, who told them he believes the body found is his daughter.
"I hate to say it this way, but I'm glad it's over with. We can at least bring Lynn back home now," said Raymond Johnson.
The Dare County Sheriff's Office is expected to provide "additional information" in a news release at 3 p.m. While authorities haven't confirmed the identify of the body, Johnson just has that feeling.
"They haven't said nothing, but I believe it's (Lynn)."
The medical examiner's office in Greenville, North Carolina told our crews they have a "rush" to autopsy the body, an exam that takes about 2 hours to complete. The results are expected Monday or Tuesday. The office handles all of eastern North Carolina, or roughly 22 counties.
Jackenheimer's father said his son was searching the area Saturday where the unidentified body was found, but he never stumbled upon it.
"I think that God didn't want (Lynn) to be discovered until her mother came there," he said. Lora Johnson was searching a Super 8 Motel in Richmond before arriving to the Outer Banks. Upon arriving, Lora said she wrote something on a balloon to Lynn and sent it up in the sky. She wouldn't say what her words were.
When asked about Summerfield and his involvement in the case, Johnson said it's time the search turned to find him.
"I'm pretty sure that we have found my daughter. Now it's about time for a manhunt for his ass. (Nate) needs to face justice."
Meanwhile, a slideshow video with photos of Jackenheimer has been posted to YouTube, in hopes that someone will recognize her or know what happened on July 3 during the trip. (Mobile users can watch by clicking this link: http://youtu.be/pXWIqtB3-IE)
"To everyone who watches, please pay close attention to the pictures," the video notes. The photos of Jackenheimer are set to the song "Right Here Waiting For You." The slideshow ends with a photo of the young mother and the words "please keep your prayers strong!"