LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) — More than one year after the death of a 35-year-old mother, the man suspected to be responsible for pulling the trigger has been charged with murder — and he is no stranger.

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Michael R. Lockear (Robeson County Sheriff’s Office)

The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said Michael Ray Locklear, 37, of Wilmington was arrested Wednesday for the June 9, 2021 murder of his own children’s mother, Cynthia Marie Lowery of Pembroke.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said a key piece that tied Locklear to Lowery’s death was the patience to get back the ballistic and forensic evidence along with the autopsy investigative report.

“In this case, it was quite obvious that what was told to investigators didn’t match up to the crime scene which has now led to this arrest,” Wilkins said.

Locklear, who formerly lived in Pembroke, was charged with second-degree murder after the more than year-long investigation. The shooting appeared to be the result of a domestic violence situation, the sheriff’s office said.

The time spent to solve this case, the sheriff said, “should be an example that our agency takes every death investigation seriously.”

Lowery is being held without bond at the New Hanover County Detention Center.