Man says he tried to get police to look for niece weeks before body found in woods

CHARLOTTE — A man is frustrated and heartbroken after his 30-year-old niece was found dead in the woods in west Charlotte.

On Tuesday morning, CMPD officers were called to Statesville Avenue, off Statesville Road near Interstate 85 in north Charlotte for a homicide investigation.

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Homicide detectives then were sent to J. Julian Lane, off Tuckaseegee Road in west Charlotte where officers found 30-year-old Miranda Springs’ body in a wooded area.

Springs’ uncle, Rich Richardson, told Channel 9 he feared this would be the outcome when his great-niece disappeared last month. Family members said the last time they saw the mother of two boys was on Sept. 18.

“All kinds of emotions flow over you ... like, ‘This is happening to me?’” Richardson said.

Richardson said at first, family members had hope, but that began to fade a week later when police found Springs’ car wrecked off Tuckaseegee Road and she was nowhere to be found.

Police found the car just hours after two young women told police the driver of the car -- later identified as Saafiq Jahquiel Hall -- had stalked and attacked them at their apartment complex.

Hall was arrested, but at that point, no one had reported Springs missing, so police didn’t connect him to her disappearance.

Richardson told Channel 9 that he had a hunch so he tracked Hall down himself.

“I had to friend him on Facebook,” Richardson said. “He called me on the telephone and I talked to him lightly about it at first. I said, ‘You had her car, how’d you get her keys?’ (He said), ‘She left them in the car.’ I knew that was impossible.”

Richardson said when he pushed Hall about Springs, Hall hung up. Days later, police found Springs’ body not far from where they found her car.

“She was a nice, sweet girl, was good to her children ... loved her children very much,” Richardson said.

Richardson said now he and his family wonder if things could have been different if police did enough in time.

“We’ve had a lot of questions about a lot of that stuff … how it was performed,” he said.

Lt. Byan Crum oversees CMPD’s homicide unit and said he knows it can be frustrating for the family when police can’t share the details of an investigation as it unfolds.

“In hindsight, we can kind of see how things, what the total picture was, but at the time, officers working each individual component of the investigation couldn’t see the big picture and it’s really because we were missing just a little information that we needed to put it together,” Crum said.

Hall is in custody and has been charged with murder, first-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The investigation into this case is still active and ongoing.

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