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Ex-boyfriend said he planned Madison Sparrow's killing with another person, police say

Isabel Hughes Jeff Neiburg
Delaware News Journal

Three days after a 17-year-old Newark girl went missing and was later found dead, her 19-year-old ex-boyfriend has been charged with her murder.

Madison Sparrow's family reported her missing at about 8:30 p.m. Friday after she didn't come home, Delaware State Police said. Police issued a Gold Alert for her Saturday night, and on Monday afternoon, said she'd been found dead.

During interviews conducted after Sparrow's disappearance, detectives were told that the girl had gone "to an area in Newark where her ex-boyfriend, Noah [Sharp], was located," police said.

Madison Sparrow, 17, has been missing since Friday, according to police. She was last seen near Farm Lane in Newark.

"The investigation revealed the homicide occurred in the Newark area due to blunt force trauma to her body," police said Tuesday. "After the homicide occurred, she was transported to a secluded wooded location in Newark, where law enforcement officers discovered her body."

Police said Sharp, of Newark, was identified as the suspect and arrested Monday. He was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

Citing court documents, the Newark Post said Sharp, in an interview with police, confessed to the killing "and directed detectives to a wooded area near Interstate 95 and Del. 896, where they found Sparrow’s body, according to court documents. An autopsy ruled her death homicide by blunt-force trauma."

Sharp used an aluminum bat to hit Sparrow in the head in a wooded area behind Maclary Elementary School, the Post said, citing court documents. Police later found the weapon, blood, and Sparrow’s clothing. The Post reported that Sharp told police he planned the killing with another person, who is not identified in court documents.

BACKGROUND:Newark teen missing since Friday found dead, according to police

The administrator of one of several Facebook groups organized in recent days to help search for Sparrow provided an update Monday afternoon, saying the girl's family will not be speaking with members of the media, but that police are continuing their investigation to hold "anyone involved" accountable.

Noah Sharp

"The entire family is processing this and grieving, so please allow them to do so," the post reads. "All the support and outpouring of love has been amazing and so appreciated."

Detectives have not given a motive for the crime, but said "there is information indicating additional individuals may be involved" in Sparrow's death. Despite that, they said there is no threat to public safety.

When asked on Monday how police determined there is no threat to public safety, Senior Cpl. Heather Pepper told Delaware Online/The News Journal the case is active and further information will be released when police are able to.

Sharp was arraigned Monday and taken to prison on $1,021,000 cash bail.

Send story tips or ideas to Isabel Hughes at ihughes@delawareonline.com or 302-324-2785. For all things breaking news, follow her on Twitter at @izzihughes_