2001 disappearance of Lenoir teen still unsolved
Posted May 17
Updated May 18
La Grange, N.C. — Investigators and relatives are stumped more than 13 years after a 16-year-old girl disappeared from her home in Lenoir County.
Cosandra Best last saw her daughter, Timeka Pridgen, at their home in La Grange, east of Goldsboro, on May 12, 2001.
Best said she was waiting for a visit from her boyfriend, Eric Moore, when she dozed off. She woke up around midnight to find that Timeka was missing.
"I started looking around to see if anything was missing, and I saw that the shoes that she was wearing was still there (and) her purse. That's when the panic set in," Best recalled.
There were no signs of forced entry or a struggle at the home. Investigators determined that Timeka had been on the phone with a friend, who told them the call ended after she heard a knock at the door.
"There have been a number of searches around LaGrange, as well as the Goldsboro area," said Anthony Jernigan, assistant special agent-in-charge with the State Bureau of Investigation.
Best said that her gut instinct points Moore.
After her daughter disappeared, Best learned from police that Moore had a criminal past: convictions for a sex crime, kidnapping, assault and theft.
"I had no idea. All I knew about his past was what he had told me," Best said. "It was actually the chief of police who asked me how much did I know about his background. I was blown away."
In 2006, Moore was convicted of a sex crime that happened two years after Timeka's disappearance. He is serving a minimum nine-year prison sentence and is scheduled to be released in 2015.
Moore did not respond to NC Wanted's requests for an interview.
Investigators haven't said whether he's considered a suspect in Timeka's disappearance.
Best said that she still yearns to find out what happened to her daughter.
"I go day to day with my faith and my hope that everything is going to turn out OK," Best said. "I really feel that he knows what happened to her. But I cannot accept that she's no longer with us without solid proof of that."
Anyone with information about Timeka's disappearance can call NC Wanted's tipline at 1-866-439-2683.