Mark Anthony Cox; photo courtesy: Charlotte Mecklenburg Police
CHARLOTTE, NC - The man accused of killing Lockport native Danielle Watson in North Carolina was in court Wednesday for the first time.
Mark Anthony Cox, 22, is charged with murder and two counts of armed robbery in the death of Danielle Marie Watson, 25.
He was assigned a court-appointed attorney and no bond was posted.
The 25-year-old Watson, grew up in Western New York and was just weeks from marrying her fiance Keith Smith, who is heartbroken and furious.
Investigators say Cox was taken into custody around 1 p.m. Monday at a home in Fayetteville, N.C. Watson's vehicle, which police say the suspect had stolen, was located at a nearby apartment in Fayetteville.
Cox will appear in court on Wednesday.
"All I want to do is find this guy and tear him apart," Smith told the media in an interview over the weekend.
Reacting to the arrest, Smith said he was relieved and that Watson's parents were also thankful for the arrest.
According to police, 22 year-old Mark Anthony Cox robbed and killed Watson, who was two months pregnant. They say they responded to a robbery call this weekend from a Charlotte restaurant Watson was managing. Cox also worked there.
Once police arrived, a garbage truck driver spotted Watson's body behind a nearby dumpster.
The night before, an hour after the restaurant closed, Watson's fiance said he received a call from her cell phone, but there was only background noise on the other end. The call then abruptly ended.
"Now that I know what happened," Smith said. "I swear it was her calling me with what was happening and letting the phone go so I could hear what was happening."
When he couldn't reach her, he called 911, but Charlotte Police went to the wrong location, finally arriving at the restaurant the next morning. Police say Watson's suspected killer had disappeared with her car.
Watson grew up in Lockport, but several years ago moved with her family to the Charlotte area, where her father had accepted a job. Her grandmother Dolores Watson, who still lives in Lockport, told us by phone over the weekend, "She was wonderful girl, beautiful, and very, very happy."
We spoke to Watson's mother, Danielle, briefly by phone before the arrest. She said it's a difficult time for the entire family, and that police have asked that both she and Danielle's father, David, not to speak to the media while they were searching for the suspected killer.
The restaurant where Danielle worked, the Flying Biscuit, released this statement:
Statement of Hugh Bigham, Owner
The Flying Biscuit Cafe is saddened by the terrible tragedy that occurred on January 13, 2012. We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Danielle Watson. We have met with Danielle's parents and intend to do all that we can to help them through this very difficult time.
We will continue to work with the authorities regarding the investigation in an effort to see that the perpetrator is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The Flying Biscuit is also working closely with our employees as they deal with this tragic situation. Grief counseling is being provided to all employees as needed.
We have reopened our restaurant today in an effort to bring our community together to remember Danielle. In addition to asking for donations from the community, the Flying Biscuit will be giving a percentage of its sales to the Danielle Watson Memorial Fund. We also have plans to create a permanent memorial to Danielle located at the restaurant.
The restaurant will be closed on Saturday, January 21, 2012 so that the Flying Biscuit family can pay respects to the Watson family.
A neighboring restaurant is stepping up to help the family with funeral costs. The Meat House restaurant will donate 5% of their sales for the week ending on Sunday, January 22 to assist in the funeral costs of Danielle Watson, as well as take donations from customers.