Nicholas Hawkins, the 19-year-old whose body was discovered Tuesday night in a wooded area in Alabama days after he phoned his mother saying someone was trying to kill him, died from a single gunshot wound, police tell PEOPLE.
Walker County Sheriff James Underwood did not say where on his body Underwood was hit, but tells PEOPLE investigators are exploring leads as they work to establish a motive for the murder.
On Saturday night, Hawkins – whose brother tells PEOPLE was an aspiring musician – phoned his mother and said, “Someone is trying to kill me.”
Hawkins’ car was found on Sunday in the driveway of a friend’s house, according to Underwood.
Hawkins’ remains were discovered at an illegal dump site, wrapped in a blanket and covered with debris, says Underwood, who tells PEOPLE an arrest in the case could come as early as today or tomorrow.
“This is still very much an active investigation and a lot of different things are being looked at with lots of evidence still being collected,” Underwood says.
He adds: “We’re having discussions with the district attorney’s office and taking care of a lot of the preliminary things. We’ve got a lot of positive things going on in this investigation, but I can’t tell you when we’re going to file charges. I hope it’s soon.
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Person of Interest Detained, But No Charges Filed
Underwood confirms that his department has detained a person of interest in the Hawkins case, but adds no formal charges have been filed for Hawkins’ death against that person: 21-year-old Joshua Adam Reese.
Underwood tells PEOPLE Reese and Hawkins “knew each other,” but said the two weren’t friends.
Officials confirm Reese was arrested early Tuesday morning on a felony failure to appear warrant out of Walker County. Meanwhile, court records show Reese is awaiting trial on attempted murder charges, stemming from a 2013 incident in which he s alleged to have struck a man over the head with a gun he then tried shooting him with. (He has pleaded not guilty.)
It was not immediately known Thursday is Reese has legal representation.
Talking to PEOPLE on Wednesday, Jacob Hawkins described his younger brother as “an amazing person” who “played guitar and wrote music.” Jacob says Hawkins was “a fun-loving, free spirit” who was “kind, generous, and humble.”
A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night for Hawkins.