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Body of Chief's Daughter Found; Murder Warrant Issued

Body of Chief's Daughter Found; Murder Warrant Issued

Michael Neal Harvey

The Charlott Observer

September 19, 2010

CONCORD – The body of Valerie Hamilton, the 23-year-old daughter of Concord’s police chief, was found Saturday night in a storage unit on Monroe Road in southeast Charlotte, police say.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have issued a murder warrant for 34-year-old Michael Neal Harvey, a registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal record.

Harvey is thought to be the man seen on video surveillance leaving the Thomas Street Tavern in Plaza Midwood early last Wednesday morning with Hamilton. She had not been seen or heard from since leaving the restaurant.

Police say they believe Harvey is still in the Charlotte area and are asking the public for help.

He has past arrests for offenses that include firearm possession, according to a check of court records.

“We’re very earnestly asking the public’s help in locating Mr. Harvey or the Chevy Blazer he is driving,” CMPD Major Harold Medlock said Sunday morning.

The missing person case had attracted national attention, with the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” including Hamilton’s status on its website Saturday.

Medlock said he had hoped for a better ending to the search.


Michael Neal Harvey was last seen in a 1996 White Chevy Blazer, with N.C. tag ZXE-1756.

“When we start a search like this, we always hope we can return the missing person safely to their family,” Medlock said Sunday morning.

Instead, a three-day search by police ended Saturday evening at the Mini-Storage Center, in the 4500 block of Monroe Road. That’s where investigators found Hamilton’s body.

Police had searched her Arboretum-area apartment and the neighborhood around Thomas Street Tavern several times in recent days. Video surveillance from the restaurant had led police to issue an alert for a man, thought to be in his mid to late 30s, who was seen with Hamilton early that morning.

The search apparently moved to an east Charlotte hotel and to a home in north Charlotte on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Several police detectives visited the Econo Lodge on Saturday evening and interviewed guests. Multiple broadcast reports Sunday morning indicate someone resembling Harvey had stayed at the motel late last week but left Friday.

Police confirm that Harvey’s home in northern Mecklenburg County was searched sometime Saturday, but the suspect was not there.

Police say auto theft warrants also have been issued for Harvey, although he is not driving Hamilton’s car. That vehicle was found parked near the Thomas Street Tavern.

Instead, police say Harvey was last seen in a white 1996 Chevrolet Blazer, with N.C. tags ZXE-1756.

Anyone who spots that vehicle or knows the whereabouts of Harvey is asked to call 911, or contact detectives at 704-336-VCAT. Information also can be left with Crime Stoppers, 704-334-1600.

According to court records, Harvey was convicted of first-degree sex offense in New York. He has been in North Carolina at least five years, based on his arrest record. The N.C. Department of Corrections says Harvey was convicted in Iredell County of felony breaking-and-entering but apparently was put on probation.

There also is no record for him having served any time for at least six arrests in Mecklenburg County. Those charges, which extend over the past 22 months, include felony breaking-and-entering, larceny, probation violation, heroin possession, possession of a firearm by a convicted felong, and felony breaking and entering of a motor vehicle.

PoliceLink would like to send our sincerest condolences to Police Chief Merl Hamilton, his family, and the Concord Police Department. You, and your wonderful daughter Valerie will remain in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.

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