A suspect captured yesterday in the killing of a North Carolina police chief’s daughter is a long-time drug abuser who previously served four years in a New York prison for raping a woman he met at a bar, reports the Charlotte Observer. Michael Neal Harvey, 34, of Charlotte was arrested in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He is a registered sex offender on probation. He was free on bond in North Carolina, facing a gun charge and accusations of possessing counterfeit heroin with the intent to sell. The arrest capped off a five-day search that led police from a tavern where Valerie Hamilton, 23, was last seen, to a mini-storage unit where her body was found.
Merl Hamilton, Valerie’s father and police chief of Concord, N.C., appealed on “Good Morning America” for help finding his daughter’s suspected killer. Harvey has a long criminal past with a history of substance abuse from an early age, according to court records. He was convicted of rape in 1996 in Niagara Falls. After moving to Charlotte about six years ago, Harvey was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, breaking and entering, larceny and other crimes. He did not serve time beyond brief county jail sentences, despite being on probation.