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Watauga Sheriff’s Office Assists With Investigation of Murder on Stoney Fork Road

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office and Lenoir Police Department in the investigation of a murder along Stoney Fork Road on Sunday evening, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman confirmed.

On Monday, the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office charged Donnie Ellis Ward, 41, of Lenoir, in the murder of Eleuterio Vasquez Petrez, 38, of Lenoir, in the Stoney Fork area.

According to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Petrez was driving a vehicle on Stony Fork Road when he pulled over during an argument with Ward, who was a passenger in the vehicle. Ward shot Petrez over a “domestic matter.” They were acquaintances and former co-workers, according to the report.

“[Capt. Brandon Absher] said that after Ward removed Petrez from the vehicle, he dragged him to the edge of a steep embankment and rolled him down the slope,” the Wilkes Journal-Patriot reported. “Absher said Ward then returned to the vehicle, which belonged to Petrez, and drove to his home in Lenoir. Ward dialed 911 and reported what had happened to the Lenoir Police Department after he got home.”

Officers with the Lenoir Police Department detained Ward at his home in Lenoir, and Ward showed deputies with the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office where he dumpted Petrez’ body.

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office was initially called because there was confusion as to which county the body was found. The victim was found about two miles inside the Wilkes County line.