MINT HILL, NC (WBTV) - Five teens are charged in the violent sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl, Mint Hill police say.
Just after noon on Thursday, officers responded to the 4900 block of Stoney Trace Drive for a report of a naked female lying in the grass. Officials say they found a 17-year-old girl with apparent signs of violent sexual assault.
Jhovany Roman, 17, 16-year-old Felix Reyes, 16-year-old Eduardo Garcia, and two juveniles are charged in the case.
The female teen was taken to Novant Hospital in Charlotte for medical treatment. Her condition has not been released.
Roman, Reyes and the two 15-year-old boys are charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense, assault by strangulation inflicting physical injury and three counts of felony conspiracy. Garcia is charged with three counts of felony conspiracy.
The names of the juveniles and the victim are not being released.
Antoine Lockhart knows goes to school with the teens. He was shocked to hear the accusations.
"They were my friends. I don't know what's gotten into them. I don't know what made them do something like that," Lockhart said.
In court, Garcia appeared to have two family members there. They stressed that he is not facing any rape charges.
A family member for Roman says all the kids involved played hooky from school and had a party at the apartment of one of the 15-year-olds. This family member said after the first court appearance that at least one of the kids shot of video of what happened and that detectives have the video.
"They were drinking liquor at the same time and I guess they just raped a girl," Lockhart said.
He stressed that based on the video, his cousin Roman should not be facing rape charges and he spoke with police Friday morning about it. He says he wants the evidence to play out in court. He said he has a daughter and seeing just a screenshot of the video made him sick and says if the kids are guilty, they deserve to rot in jail. He didn't want to share his name because he believes it is embarrassing to the family.
"I hope she's okay," Lockhart said.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and it's possible more people may be involved. Anyone with information is asked to call the Mint Hill Police Department.
The victim was found in the grass of an apartment complex named Victoria Park. There is a security gate, but people who live there say it doesn't feel secure.
"We're suppose to have a security gate, is the gate secure? No," Tracy Minor said.
Minor has lived at Victoria Park for almost six years. She was upset to hear a teenager was raped.
"That's a hurting feeling right there. Once you do that to a person, both lives are ruined, the one that's going to jail and the one you done it to," Minor said.
Another woman who lives in the complex was upset by the information as well. Alicia Hunt says it's scary.
"I was a little bit nervous because I stay here by myself," Hunt said, "I was shocked. I was really shocked."
Roman, Garcia, and Reyes appeared via video screen from the Mecklenburg County jail in court. The judge appointed a public defender to each of their cases. She set their next court dates for November 30, 2015 and December 11, 2015. All were ordered to have no contact with the victim and with each other.
Garcia is eligible for pre-trial release because he's only facing conspiracy charges.