Facebook friends accused of killing troubled Eagle Scout

RALEIGH - This fall, life bore down on Matt Silliman.

There was the on-again-off-again love affair with his girlfriend. His dad didn't like his new style: dyed hair and gothlike clothes. Since he turned 18 in August, he had set out to find the mother who gave him up for adoption when she was a teenager, said Taylor Cross, a friend from Apex High School.

"All of this was just stacking up," Cross said.

Matthew Josiah Silliman, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout, was found dead Wednesday in a mobile home used for storage in the rural community of New Hill, in southwestern Wake County. Four teens, friends from western Wake County, have been charged with his killing.

In late September, Silliman posted on his Facebook page a vulgar and desperate message, then suggested he would kill himself. Two days later, he was in a psychiatric ward at Holly Hill Hospital in Raleigh, according to Cross and Silliman's Facebook postings.

So, when Silliman disappeared the night before Thanksgiving, friends assumed he had run away. His parents called police, concerned that their son had vanished without his medication. They told friends from church that he'd probably gone camping, said his Scout troopmaster, Bart Vashaw.

No one thought Silliman, who thrived outdoors, could be in danger.

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