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Press Release(s)

Active press releases are placed here where they will generally remain for one to three days. If we believe a press release will be of interest for a longer period of time, we will also place a PDF of the release in the Press Release Archive where it will remain for several weeks. If you have questions or do not see the press release you are looking for, please contact Communication Manager Alicia Stemper. Her phone number is (919) 245-2963. Her email address is:



Hillsborough, NC (March 3, 2024) – Orange County Sheriff’s deputies identified the man killed this morning by intruders to his home as Jerry Lee Driggers, 58, a resident of 6301 US 70 West in Mebane.


Investigators took out the following charges against Clarence Brandon Hayes, 28, of Durham: first degree murder, first degree burglary, first degree kidnapping, felony conspiracy, and injury to real property. Hayes is still hospitalized.


Investigators are working to determine the identity of two men who broke into the residence with Hayes, demanding money. They were wearing black clothing and ski masks. If you have any information about this crime or saw or heard anything unusual on US Highway 70 West near its intersection with Buckhorn Road, please call Investigator Dylan Hendricks at (919) 245-2951.


Sheriff Charles Blackwood said, “Our condolences go out to all who knew and loved Mr. Driggers. We are asking for privacy for his family as they process this terrible crime and the loss of their loved one.”


He added, “At this time, we think this crime was an isolated incident and we have no reason to believe the other perpetrators are still in the immediate area. We will continue to investigate, seeking to determine their identities and take them into custody.”





Hillsborough, NC (March 3, 2024) – A man died early this morning after three armed intruders broke into his home and demanded money. The resident fired a shotgun at the men, striking one of them. Someone in the group returned fire, hitting the resident who later died during surgery.


When deputies arrived at the residence on Highway 70 near its intersection with Buckhorn Road at approximately 12:40 this morning, they found the victim and two other residents inside. Deputies and emergency medical personnel rendered aid and transported the victim to Duke University Hospital where he died. The other residents of the home reported being held at gunpoint, but they were not physically harmed. All three intruders fled the house after the exchange of gunfire.  


Deputies located Clarence Brandon Hayes, 28, of Durham, outside in the parking lot of a business near the residence. He had a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He underwent surgery at a nearby hospital; further details about his medical condition are unknown.


A K9 track suggested the two uninjured intruders left the scene in a vehicle. The residents of the home described them as men wearing masks and all black clothing.


Deputies are withholding the identity of the victim pending notification of next of kin. Dylan Hendricks is the lead investigator. If you saw or heard anything near the intersection of Highway 70 and Buckhorn Road between 12:30 and 1:00 AM, please call him at (919) 245-2951.




Hillsborough, NC (February 29, 2024)- Investigator Kevin Stewart with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office obtained warrants against several men this week stemming from two recent home break-ins. Stewart worked with agencies in surrounding counties and other states to identify the suspects, who are currently in custody in Baltimore County, Maryland. The men face full extradition to Orange County after the Maryland courts settle their criminal matters in that jurisdiction.


Investigators allege thieves broke into the first residence on December 17, 2023, and the second on January 19, 2024. Both homes are on Whirlaway Lane in the Triple Crown Farms subdivision just outside Chapel Hill. Thieves stole jewelry, cash, and clothing, notably expensive cultural and ceremonial garments. The suspects smashed glass in the rear of the homes to gain access inside, most likely to avoid doorbell cameras and neighbors. Both break-ins occurred in the early evening after dark. Investigators suspect the men conducted surveillance on the homes from positions of nearby cover, such as the wood-lines between other neighborhoods.


Luis Fernando Oyanedel Valenzuela, 23, and Jorge Orlando Gatica Vergara, 22, each face warrants for first degree burglary, felony conspiracy, felony larceny after breaking and entering, and damage to property in connection with the December break-in.


Investigators also took out warrants against those men, along with Thomas Francisco Crisosto Araya, 21, and Gabriel Alejandro Matamala Ponce, 20, for their suspected involvement with the January case. The charges for that break-in include second degree burglary, felony conspiracy, felony larceny after breaking and entering, and damage to property.


All four men are citizens of Chile.  Investigators do not know when to expect the extradition of the suspects from Maryland.


Kevin Stewart is the lead investigator in the case. Please call him if you have any additional information at (919) 245-2925.


Sheriff Charles Blackwood praised Stewart’s tenacity for the success of this investigation. “Stewart gets after it,” he said. “No detail is too small, no task too tedious as he works to link cases together. The criminal element is creative, and they are opportunistic. But they don’t hustle like Stewart does, and his patience, diligence, and work ethic once again paid off.”



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