Two Wilmington women say they were assaulted in Wrightsville Beach, but no arrests have been made. What happened?
Two Wilmington women claim they were assaulted on Wrightsville Beach last week. A Facebook post about the incident went viral and caught the attention of local news -- but many questions remain. WHQR spoke with the victims to get their story.
Warning: this report contains photos of injuries and descriptions of violence that may be disturbing to some listeners and readers.
Update: The New Hanover County District Attorney's Office and the Wrightsville Beach Police Department have decided there was insufficient grounds to pursue the case: Wrightsville Beach PD and District Attorney say no charges, no prosecution in early-morning alleged assault
Around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14th, sisters Nadia and Jasmine Evans left their Wilmington homes and headed to the beach. Jasmine said she often goes early in the morning to watch the sunrise and to do meditation.
An hour later, they were on the beach, when Jasmine and Nadia said a couple approached their belongings.
“I spotted them. And I'm like, hey, somebody’s near your items. Let's go check this out ... As they start speaking, I can tell they're under the influence. They're either high or drunk. I don't know. But they're not sober," Nadia said.
According to the sisters, the couple berated them, repeatedly saying “you don’t live here.”
Jasmine said they asked to be left alone: “[I said] can y'all leave us alone, please? And they, would you say they made a mockery out of us?”
“Yes,” Nadia confirmed.
Then, Nadia said, things turned violent.
“Next thing you know I'm kicked in the face, full force. After that, it's kind of a blur, but I know I was attacked, beaten. My sister came — I think I yelled for my sister — and same thing was going on with her. He choked us out a few times. My sister actually went unconscious. He got behind me as I was trying to yell for help. Put me in a chokehold, covered my mouth and my nose. At the same time, he was telling me to shut the eff up repeatedly. I couldn't breathe," Nadia said. "I remember another time. He put my face in [the sand] — I'm yelling to him, like I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe. And he's still going. And at one time I do recall him having me and my sister both in his headlock, squeezing, like choking, us at the same time.”
At one point, Nadia and Jasmine said their assailant offered to stop, but didn’t.
“And then he said, he said along these lines, if you want me to stop, say stop,” Jasmine said.
“We yelled, stop, stop. He said okay, okay. Okay, stop, stop, stop. He did not stop,” Nadia said.
According to Nadia and Jasmine, the beating eventually stopped and the couple took off. Nadia said her sister, barely able to speak, asked her to call the police — who eventually arrived. Then the couple returned, claiming that they had been assaulted.
Police took down everyone’s information, but no arrests were made; Nadia and Jasmine were taken to the hospital for their injuries, the couple apparently declined treatment. The sisters acknowledged that their assailant did also have injuries, but described them as consistent with defensive wounds.
According to Wrightsville Beach Police Chief David Squires, there was insufficient probable cause for an arrest at the time, but the assault is still under active investigation, in consultation with the District Attorney’s office.
In a statement, WBPD said in part, "No third-party witnesses were available to be interviewed. The field investigation into this matter ended without probable cause sufficient to charge any party" (you can find the full statement below).
WBPD provided the incident report, but couldn’t comment further.
Nadia expressed frustration with the WBPD's handling of the case, and noted that the incident report has several inconsistencies — she is, for example, listed as being taller and heavier than she is in actuality, and her age is incorrect (she's listed as 19, both sisters are in their 20s).
Also, the sisters' alleged assailant’s name is misspelled, and his address is incomplete.
For Nadia and Jasmine, that’s important, because the man they claim assaulted them— Jack Andrew McLoughlin — is currently out on bond after being charged with felony assault by strangulation. The alleged incident took place at a residence off of South Kerr Avenue near MLK Jr. Parkway, early on the morning of May 1; the next court date for the charge is in September.
Editor's note: Following publication and airing of this piece, Assistant District Attorney Amy White confirmed, "I met with the victim, who recanted statements regarding the assault. The case has been dismissed in light of this information and is under further investigation to see if recharging is possible."
WHQR confirmed with the District Attorney’s office that McLoughlin was given an unsecured $2,500 bond — meaning no cash upfront was required — and ordered to stay away from the victim.
Nadia and Jasmine identified McLoughlin’s booking photo as the man who assaulted them — they remain confused, and concerned, that he hasn’t been arrested, which is why Nadia posted photos of their injuries and a description of the assault to Facebook. The post was first reported on by WECT late last week.
Below: Nadia Evans' Facebook post. Warning, the post contains images of injuries and profanity. Story continues below.
McLoughlin is white, and Nadia and Jasmine are black, and many on social media described the assault as racially motivated -- but the sisters have mixed feelings about that.
“Racially motivated, I wouldn't say racially motivated. He made that comment, and that made it seem racist to me, 'Y'all don't live here,'" Nadia said. "But I do feel like this was a hate crime at the same time. Because, why? Why did this happen? Why? Why did any of this happen? Yeah, why didn't you leave us alone? Why did you feel the need to not only beat us up but literally tried to kill us and shut me up and kill me? When I couldn't breathe?”
WHQR reached out both to McLoughlin and the attorney he retained for the May assault charges. Neither responded. The Wrightsville Beach Police Department did confirm that McLoughlin claimed to be the victim of an assault, not the assailant.
Statement from WBPD:
In the early morning hours of July 14, 2021, members of the Wrightsville Beach Police Department (WBPD) responded to a call for service in the area of the beach strand east of E. Salisbury Street. Officers met with a total of four people (2 groups of 2 people) and heard a complaint from each group that they had been assaulted by the other group. NHC EMS came to render aid to all who complained of injuries. No third party witnesses were available to be interviewed. The field investigation into this matter ended without probable cause sufficient to charge any party. The matter was documented in an incident report and is assigned to Det. T. Greene for follow-up investigation.
On July 15th the WBPD became aware of a social media post related to this event that includes assertions the WBPD has not handled the matter appropriately.
Today, the case remains an open investigation wherein we continue to gather evidence. Our ultimate goal in the pursuit of justice is to determine whether any party should be charged with an offense and if so; what the most appropriate charges would be. We encourage those involved (including any witness to this event) to assist us in that pursuit.