Richard Omar Knight

Principal found dead in woods, hanging from a tree, following accusations he raped a 12-year-old student

A North Carolina principal was reportedly found dead following allegations that he raped a 12-year-old student.

According to WRAL, hunters found the body of Richard Omar Knight, 35, hanging from a tree in a wooded area of Orange County on Friday. Earlier that morning, at around 12:30 a.m., one of the hunters’ cameras reportedly captured Knight alone and carrying a blanket. Authorities said his car was located at a nearby gas station.

Knight’s apparent suicide comes hours after police secured a warrant for his arrest on charges of statutory rape, sex act with a student, and indecent liberties with a student. Police were called to the school Thursday, where they made aware of the sex assault allegations, the news station reported.

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Knight was the principal of Dillard Academy in Goldsboro. A LinkedIn page reportedly belonging to Knight stated that he worked at the Academy for two years.

WTVD reported that Knight was suspended from the nonprofit charter school in light of the accusations. Following his death, Goldsboro police told The News & Observer that their investigation is ongoing as it’s unclear whether there are additional victims.

An autopsy will be performed to confirm an exact cause of death.

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[Featured image: Richard Omar Knight/WTVD video screengrab]