Early Tuesday morning on May 16, 2017, Tre’ McFadden, was killed on his 24th birthday by three men.
These men claimed that he jumped out of a moving vehicle that was traveling 50 to 60 mph at the time.
Justin Allen Butson, Charles Oliver Adams, and Bradley Taylor Reece are the three men who were last seen with McFadden at the time of his death.
Butson, Allen, and Reece all relayed information to Onslow County Sheriff’s Office detectives by saying they looked for McFadden but failed to locate him, yet did not call 911 because they assumed he survived the “jump” and just happen to run off.
Despite neither of the three men calling 911 to report the incident immediately, which adds suspicion, Sheriff Hans John Miller and detectives in charge of the case poorly determined that there was no criminal activity involved in not reporting this act nor in the crime itself in McFadden’s untimely death. This despite the fact all 3 men had to be located because none of them came forward.
Tre’ McFadden’s mother, Monica Jones, knew something was not right when she and other family members had not heard from Tre’ on his birthday as they were sending out well wishes. She stated that McFadden and the three men left her house around 5:30 p.m. on May 15, 2017, the day before Tre’s birthday, to head to Tre’s father’s house in Jacksonville, NC, and then to the beach.
Jones contacted Tre’s father, Clifton McFadden, Jr., and advised him that something wasn’t right because no one had heard from Tre’. Although Tre’ did not have a phone at the time (he broke his iPhone days before his birthday) he was only able to reach people through his tablet over Wi-Fi, or use the phone of someone he was with. His last calls and texts came from Bradley Reece’s phone.
On May 17, 2017, McFadden’s parents went to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office to file a missing person’s report. It was publicized on the website and the news stations on May 19, 2017. No one came forward with information regarding what happened to Tre’ McFadden even after the missing person’s report was filed and publicized.
It was not until 7 days following Tre’s birthday, that a tip was given to the mother which led detectives to one of the three men, Justin Allen Butson, who currently have pending Felony BREAKING AND OR ENTERING (F), Felony LARCENY AFTER BREAK/ENTER, and Felony CONSP B&E BLDG-FELONY/LARCENY charges scheduled before a judge on February 12, 2018.
On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Butson took detectives to the precise location of where Tre’ McFadden’s body lay—dead in a ditch on Stella Road in Onslow County.
Medical Examiner M.G.F. Gilliand, M.D., examined McFadden but also relied on information from detectives to conclude the manner and cause of his death. Gilliland was told by Onslow County Sheriff’s Department detectives that McFadden “jumped” from a fast-moving vehicle, which gave her insight to conclude that the cause and manner of McFadden’s death would be declared an “accident.” No one from the Medical Examiner’s office visited the site when McFadden’s body was retrieved so they did not see the site for themselves but relied on local CSI. No forensics were conducted on the site to confirm the three men’s stories, though the scene was absent of skid marks or any signs of blood stains. Skid marks on the road would confirm that brakes were immediately applied once McFadden “jumped”.
The death certificate of Tre’ McFadden was later modified from McFadden “jumping from a moving car’ and listing the manner of death “accident” to “blunt for injuries of the head due to exited from a moving car” and listing manner of death “undetermined.”
The autopsy report on Tre’ McFadden that took 180 days to complete was recently released. At first glance it appears that the Medical Examiner has used the reports from OCSO to make assumptions rather than certifying facts. The family is reviewing the report for inconsistencies and will follow proper protocols as it pertains to such.
A local reporter with a struggling newspaper in Jacksonville has been reported to be related or friends with the family of Justin Allen Butson.
That reporter is Mike McHugh, with the Jacksonville Daily News. In his article written about Tre’s autopsy report, he “dehumanizes” McFadden, recalling his criminal past. McHugh refused to show sympathy, empathy and denied contacting Tre’s family for a statement regarding the autopsy report.
“This article has no respect or compassion for Tre’s parents, his brothers, or anyone else in his family or friends. I’m disgusted but not surprised,” Local Jacksonville Victim Advocate, Kat Howell says in the comments on JDNews Facebook page.
Howell wasn’t the only one who voiced her concern over the article. Many who’s been following the story since it happened, questioned the story the three men told police.
“The use of his mugshot is very questionable. I’ve never worked in a newsroom where we used booking photos for any reason outside of reporting on a specific crime the person had been arrested for,”Nick Bona, Editor at WSYX ABC 6 in Ohio said in the comments on the newspaper Facebook page.
Amanda Humphrey, the struggling newspaper “city editor” responded saying, “We’ll definitely take your concerns under consideration going forward as we are not racist, nor lazy. We have, however, been covering a national story as well as several local stories on a daily basis with a small staff and doing so to the best of our abilities.”
On May 23, the same struggling newspaper wrote an article about Tre’s initial autopsy report, with a reasonable photo.
The NAACP was contacted by News In Onslow in this case, and a meeting with the Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller was conducted.
Here’s a statement with the NAACP and the Onslow County Sherrif’s Office regarding Tre’ McFadden’s death that was released to News In Onslow September 16, 2017:
“In the McFadden case, the Sheriff and his team openly answered numerous questions we posed to them on behalf of the Mother. The Sheriff and his team ensured us that all possible theories were investigated and continued to be sought. They looked at and continue to consider all aspects of the case, including all possibilities of a crime. All persons involved were considered for possible links to Tre’s death.”
Sheriff Hans Miller told the NAACP that Butson, Adams, and Reece were suspects. He failed to address the community that they were. Miller also failed to address the amendment of Tre’ McFadden’s death certificate.
The failed justice and lack of productivity towards the case of Tre’ McFadden needs to come to an end immediately. There is more than enough information to prosecute the three individuals at hand and charges can always be upgraded as new information becomes available. Unfortunately, the justice system continues to derail the lawful protocol of abiding by what is right and what supports the truth. Justice for Tre’ Mcfadden however, will prevail.