Couple charged in death of missing Wake County pregnant woman held without bond

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– Two people charged in the death of a missing pregnant woman in Wake County will remain behind bars without bond, a judge ruled Thursday.

Both Emmalei Trevathan, 24, and Thomas Johnson, 37, appeared in court Thursday on charges of murder, murder of an unborn child, and concealment of a body.

Both had quick appearances before the Wake County judge and will be back in court March 4.

Trevathan and Johnson were arrested Wednesday afternoon during a traffic stop in Raleigh.

Brittany Samone Smith in photos from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday night that the body found inside a suitcase Monday morning off Allen Road was that of missing 28-year-old Brittany Smith.

Smith was reported missing last week.

According to warrants, Smith was found inside a purple suitcase that had been thrown into the Neuse River.

Warrants for Johnson and Trevathan also show that Smith was six months pregnant with a boy.

“It’s safe to say that this is no accident,” said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker earlier in the week of Smith’s murder.

Thomas Clayton Johnson and Emmalei Grace Trevathan. (Courtesy of Raleigh-Wake CCBI)

“No one deserves to die like that,” said Dale Williams, a friend of Smith. “Frightened, in pain, and alone.”

In the hours following the grisly discovery, Wake County Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant on a Wendell home.

“I offered to let them in because I had nothing to hide,” said Williams.

According to Williams, deputies weren’t interested in what was inside of his home but focused outside where Smith and her boyfriend had been living in a tent for months.

“I didn’t have the means to put her up inside,” said Williams of Smith. “This certainly beats living under a bridge.”

When Smith disappeared Thursday night, Williams said her boyfriend was beside himself.

Deputies questioned the boyfriend after Smith’s disappearance, but he wasn’t considered a suspect.

Both Trevathan and Johnson are scheduled to be back in court in March.

Deputies have not yet released a motive for Smith’s death.

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