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Cause of death released in N. Topsail Beach deaths

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Jul 26 2013 08:01:35 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2013 04:51:00 PM CDT
N.TOPSAIL BEACH, ONSLOW COUNTY -

The Medical Examiner has determined a cause of death of the men found dead on N. Topsail Beach Thursday night.

According to the Certificate of Death, Christopher Stewart and Robert Shellhammer both died from "exsanguination," or blood loss, caused from an "incised wound to [his] neck."

The time of the two men's injuries is listed as "about 10:30 p.m." on the certificate, and the time of death is listed as 11:32 p.m. In a description of how the injury occurred, it lists "stabbed by another" and classifies the manner of death as "homicide."

Police have not released much information about the incident, other than to say it was likely the result of a dispute and that they are not looking for any suspects.

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North Topsail Beach police have released the names of two men found dead on the beach Thursday night.

The men who died on North Topsail Beach were Christopher Stewart and Robert Clinton Shellhammer IV, both 31 and from Sneads Ferry, police say.

Robert Clinton Shellhammer IV, 31, was a registered sex offender.  The man was convicted in 2003 of indecent liberties with a child and was incarcerated for 18 months.

Chris White, Stewart's stepfather, remembers getting the call about his loved one's death.

"When you're awakened at 5 'o clock in the morning, and they're asking you questions and but not telling you anything, it just hurts," White said. "Christopher was a great, great person. There's just no reason. We can't understand."

Gina Shellhammer remembers her ex husband as a man who loved the beach and his children even more.

"For me, he just made me feel special, for a lot of people," Shellhammer said. "When he was in the room, you knew that when you spoke, he was listening. "He was a good man. He was a great father. He loved his family very much. We're going to miss him."

An official confirms that a woman was also present near the incident and sustained a stab wound to her hand.

NewsChannel 12 spoke with a witness who saw the woman running down the beach. The witness said that the woman asked for help and said that her husband was dead and that they had just married. A friend of that witness called 911.

Stay with NewsChannel 12 as this story develops.

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Investigators said they believe a dispute led to the deaths of two men, whose bodies were found in North Topsail Beach.

According to police, they responded to a possible stabbing at 10:40 p.m. Thursday on the beach between Ocean Drive and the Village of Stump Sound. That's where they found the two men dead.

The identities of the deceased have not been released. But investigators said a dispute between the two men may have led to their deaths. There's no word on the nature of that dispute.

NewsChannel 12 also has information about a third person somehow involved in the dispute. We are withholding that information per request from police and out of respect for their investigation.

Wayne Joyner is vacationing across the street where the murders happened. Joyner said when he saw all the police cars he walked outside to find out what was going on.

"I walked down there and I asked the guy what's going on. He said you just need to be back in your house it's safer there," he said.

Owen Astrachan said he was inside his home playing games with his family when he looked outside to see police lights everywhere.

"All of a sudden we look out and there's one, two, three four, five maybe 10 police cars with all their bars going," he said.

Joyner said he just can’t believe this type of crime happened at North Topsail Beach.

"We're down here on vacation and this is the safest island, the least violence out of anywhere you can go in the world, and they got a double murder out here it’s crazy," he said.

Police said they do not believe there is any imminent threat to public safety. While the investigation is ongoing, authorities said they are not actively searching for any suspects.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office is helping with the case, and officers from the Surf City and Holly Ridge Police Departments assisted during the initial call as well.