RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/WGHP) — Two weeks ago to the day, on Aug. 11, Wake County K9 deputy Ned Byrd was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Since that day, there has been a manhunt, a river search, a recovered suspect vehicle, a funeral, two murder charges, a reward of $125,000 and several other developments.
Piece by piece, this is a look at all that has transpired since the Wake County Sheriff’s Office lost one of its own.
August 11: The night of Byrd’s murder
Byrd, 48, of Raleigh, was shot near Battle Bridge and Auburn Knightdale roads in Raleigh just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 11, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said.
Earlier that night, Byrd had responded to a domestic call less than one mile away, according to the sheriff’s office. After, he entered his notes into the system.
The Associated Press reports that it appears something caught his attention along the road. His vehicle was positioned in a way that suggested he may have been trying to illuminate something. The sheriff said Byrd arrived at the location at 11:05 p.m. and Byrd never reported the stop over the radio.
“The dog was still inside the vehicle which tells us that what he got out on didn’t appear to be any sort of threat or require any sort of need for his partner,” Sheriff Baker told the media the following day.
Others with the sheriff’s office tried to contact Byrd several times but he wasn’t responding. Finally, another deputy found Byrd at 1:06 a.m. outside of his vehicle with his K9, Sasha, still inside.
Byrd was wearing his protective gear and was shot more than once, Sheriff Baker said. However, where he was shot was never confirmed.
August 15: $100,000 reward, suspect vehicle photos shared
Four days after the murder — a $100,000 reward for any information that would lead to an arrest and conviction of a suspect was offered by the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association.
Photos of a white pickup truck believed by investigators to be involved in Byrd’s killing were also shared by the sheriff’s office in an attempt to have the public help locate it.
The truck was described as a single-cab pickup truck similar to a Chevrolet Colorado or a GMC Canyon.
August 16: Two arrested on unrelated federal detainers in Burke County
Two men were taken into custody in Burke County after being pulled over along I-40. The two men were arrested on federal detainers unrelated to the Byrd case, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
The sheriff’s office statement also made a point to squash ongoing rumors of any relation between the deputy’s murder and the arrests made in Burke County, saying the investigation was at a sensitive point and misinformation was not helping to get justice for deputy Byrd.
“These individuals have been arrested on federal detainers unrelated to the Byrd homicide. There was no chase, as has been previously reported,” Wake County Chief Legal Advisor Rick Brown said in an official media release on Aug. 16.
The two men taken into jail on the federal detainers were brothers Arturo Marin-Sotelo and Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo. However, these two were charged in Byrd’s murder the following week.
August 17: Suspect vehicle recovered, river search conducted
Two days after the WCSO shared the truck photos, the vehicle was recovered in Forsyth County on Aug. 17, Sheriff Baker said in a press conference.
Earlier that same day the truck was found, dive teams searched the Neuse River for much of the morning and afternoon. Crews were seen searching the shoreline off of Auburn Knightdale Road, about half a mile from the scene where Byrd was killed.
A Wake County Sheriff’s Office representative told CBS 17 the search was regarding an ongoing investigation and would not provide any additional details.
Teams from Durham County Search and Recovery, the Knightdale Fire Department, Youngsville Search and Rescue and Eastern Wake Fire and Rescue crews searched the river bottom inch by inch. They would not tell CBS 17 crews what they were looking for, but said they were assisting the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.
CBS 17 crews observed a dive team present a gun they had found to a Wake County deputy. The gun was covered in mud and debris. A deputy was seen getting an empty evidence bag from his vehicle, and it appeared they were going to analyze the gun they had found.
When the dive and fire teams left, additional Wake County Sheriff’s Office vehicles came on the scene to expand the search to the area around the river.
Deputies were spotted walking around the wooded area and field near the river.
August 18: 1 brother arrested, another charged, along with Byrd’s visitation
Arturo Marin-Sotelo, 29, of Apex, was arrested and charged with felony murder, according to court documents served on August 18 — exactly one week after deputy Byrd was killed.
Arturo Marin-Sotelo was booked into the Wake County jail just after 8:30 a.m. and appeared in Wake County court later in the day.
“It gives this office great pleasure on this morning to be able to share that one of the suspects that we believe is involved in the death of deputy Ned Byrd has been charged with murder,” Sheriff Baker said during a Thursday news conference. “It’s been round-the-clock work by this agency.”
Arturo’s brother, Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo was also officially charged with murder in Byrd’s death on Aug. 18, though he could not be served. He was still in federal custody in Burke County, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told CBS 17.
Wake County records said that Wake County deputies took Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo into their custody from the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office in Graham on Thursday morning.
ACSO reports that the suspect was an ICE detainee in the Alamance County Detention Center. ACSO also said the only role it had in the investigation was housing the suspect who arrived on Aug. 16.
The same day of the arrest and charge announcements, the community and family of Byrd gathered to pay respects at his visitation at Mitchell Funeral Home in Raleigh.
Law enforcement colleagues, friends, family and members of Byrd’s Jiu-Jitsu community were in attendance, too.
A 15-year friend of Byrd’s, Ryan Schmidt, said Byrd was a big presence in the Ju-Jitsu community and that’s how he met many of his close friends.
“He never wanted to disappoint anybody in the slightest and (was) just incredibly kind, loyal and just a friend who truly lived his life and put his friends and his family and colleagues about himself,” Schmidt said.
August 19: Byrd’s funeral, reward upped to $125,000
The funeral service honoring the life of the slain deputy spanned several hours and included remarks from family members, colleagues and N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper. Also in attendance was Byrd’s K9 partner, Sasha, who leaped at the casket during the ceremony.
“He loved Sasha. She was his child and he loved her and was proud of her,” Jason Culbreth said, who was Byrd’s Jiu-Jitsu coach.
Sheriff Baker came to the podium and said, “We pray today never comes again. God bless you, Ned. We love you.”
In a powerful moment at the funeral, a cousin of Byrd’s, Elina Pereira shared a clear message for those involved in his death.
“When Ned was taken in this violent and barbaric way, if it was meant to frighten and undermine the very fabric and stability of this community you failed, because we have a message for you. We will rise together, stronger and united. We will carry his spirit because what Ned left in each of us cannot be taken,” Pereira said.
Byrd is survived by his sister, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Following the funeral, Sheriff Baker announced that the WCSO would kick in an additional $25,000 to the $100,000 reward amount for any information leading to an arrest and conviction of any additional suspect.
August 23: 2nd brother indicted for first-degree murder
The second brother investigators believed to be involved with the murder, Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo, was officially indicted for first-degree murder.
At the time of the indictment, Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo was still being federally detained in the Forsyth County Jail under no bond, the Wake DA and sheriff both confirmed.
August 24: 3rd brother identified, charged with ammo offense, no connection made to murder
During a brief appearance in federal court on Aug. 24, Rolando Marin-Sotelo, 18, was charged for an arrest in Forsyth County. This was the first identification of Rolando Marin-Sotelo to the media.
The arrest, that took place during a traffic stop, was made after Rolando Marin-Sotelo was found to be in possession of ammo in his vehicle.
According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Rolando Marin-Sotelo was detained on Aug. 17 and has remained in the Forsyth County Jail under no bond.
While Rolando Marin-Sotelo is a brother of the two deputy Byrd murder suspects, Arturo and Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo, no official connection or charge has been made linking him to the murder.
August 25: 2nd suspect charged with murder, appears in court
Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo, the second of two brothers charged with Byrd’s murder, was booked in the Wake County Detention Center the morning that marked exactly two weeks since the deputy’s death.
Sheriff Baker spoke with the media shortly after Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo appeared in the jail, saying he could not speak to the suspect’s involvement in the murder as the investigation remains ongoing.
Though Baker did say the sheriff’s office is “certain we have two directly involved in (Byrd’s) death.”
Baker also eluded that there could be even more arrests in the works, but did not say why.
Later that afternoon, at 2 p.m., he made his first appearance in superior court.
This timeline was complied on Aug. 25, two weeks after the murder of Byrd.
Here’s more on the man who spent his last moments protecting and serving Wake County.
Who was Ned Byrd?
Ned Byrd had been with the office for 13 years, initially as a detention officer in 2009 and was sworn in as a deputy in 2018, according to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Baker said Byrd had been a “very dedicated and committed man” who spent 13 years in service to Wake County, first as a detention officer before becoming a deputy.
Former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison also weighed in on the tragic loss of Byrd, who he served alongside for a time.
“He was a detention officer for me, his goal was to be a deputy,” Harrison told CBS 17. “I allowed my detention officers, if they qualified to go out for the deputy position. He tried a couple times and finally made it. He was one happy person and I was one happy person for him. That’s what makes it so hard.”
Byrd’s former roommate, Jesse Iversen, described him as a “protector by nature.”
Iversen is a Cary firefighter who lived with Byrd for years, but the two also shared a bond of being first responders. They often saw each other when responding to calls, even when they were no longer roommates.
“The person or persons responsible took somebody very special away from us,” Iversen said. “We’d catch up when the scene calmed down a bit, we’d always just pick up right where we left off.
He also said Byrd was dedicated to his K9.
Friends remember Byrd always helping others and making every single day count.
“He loved life, loved life and he absolutely lived it to the fullest,” Iversen said. “If he loved you, you came first, and I miss him.”