FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Hyde County - Sarah Reams was only 16 years old when she and her boyfriend tried what they thought was cocaine on June 1.
The horseback rider and fisherman would be dead hours later, after the drug they took turned out to be a deadly combination of fentanyl and heroin.
The woman who allegedly sold them the drugs, 25-year-old Tiffaney Renee Webber, is now in the Pamlico County Jail, charged with two counts of felony murder, while investigators from the State Bureau of Investigation continue to pursue leads in a case that has rocked a tight-knit rural county.
Many of the friends and family of Reams and the second victim in the case, 23-year-old Ryan Gibbs, were at Fairfield Christian Center Monday afternoon to mourn Reams and remember her life. Gibbs' service was held last Tuesday.
"She loved riding horses ... and fishing," said Reams' sister Jessica, who is due with her first child next month. "But most of all, she was looking forward to being an aunt."
Authorities have been tight-lipped about the investigation, though Sarah's mother, Judy Cox, says the family has been told investigators are looking for a second suspect in Sarah and Ryan's death.
"I don't want either of them to die in vain," Sarah's mother, Judy Cox, told NewsChannel 12. "They made a very stupid mistake just like texting or speeding while driving. They had no idea what hit them."
Cox said the drug situation in Hyde County has been bad for many years, with many teenagers blaming the lack of things to do as the primary motivator for trying different types of drugs.
"Don't think for one minute that I am OK with drug abuse because I am not," she said. "I am completely opposite. I have been a nurse for 32 years and have never even tried pot."
The community has rallied around the families of Ryan and Sarah, donating thousands of dollars to help with funeral expenses.
Through their grief, the family says they want to use the deaths of Ryan and Sarah as a stark reminder for other teens to think about the choices they make and how one bad choice could be the difference between life and death.
Webber is set to appear in court on June 26.
She was arrested previously in July 2012 as part of a large-scale drug bust in Hyde County. She was charged at the time with four counts of intent to sell or distribute cocaine. However, the state records system does not list a conviction on that charge.
Webber, who according to her Facebook page was a mother to a toddler, had several posts in her timeline about battling addiction.
- Home invasion leads to struggle, suspect shot at early Friday
- Camp Lejeune job fair teaches students about careers in STEM
- Kinston man arrested and charged with six counts of attempted murder
- Body of missing former Jacksonville PD officer found, woman arrested
- Department of Public Safety increases prison safety measures after fatal incident in Pasquotank