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Cause of death undetermined for Rocky Mount woman

Posted January 6, 2010
Updated March 31, 2010

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— The mother of one of six women found dead in rural Edgecombe County within the past four years says she is still waiting to hear about a possible connection in the cases.

Patsy Hargrove said Thursday that it's been more than a month since she has heard from investigators looking into the death of her daughter, Jarniece Latonya Hargrove.

"They don't have enough evidence to pinpoint my daughter and the rest of them," Hargrove said.

Last month, a special task force investigating Hargrove's death and the others, arrested Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, and charged him with murder in the death of Taraha Shenice Nicholson.

Investigators won't say if Pittman is a suspect in any of the other cases, and Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight has refused to comment on the case.

Each of the victims was black, had a history of drug use, prostitution or both. Five had been reported missing before their bodies were discovered within a 10-mile radius of one another. Family members and friends of the victims have said many knew each other.

The task force is also investigating cases of three more missing woman who fit the same profile.

Investigators have found no signs of bullet or stab wounds on any victim. Three autopsies could not identify the cause of death, and the other women were beaten or strangled to death, according to autopsy reports and family members.

Families like Hargrove's, meanwhile, are left wondering and waiting for justice.

"I don't want this man charged with nothing if he didn't do it," Hargrove said. "We want the right person convicted."

Pittman, who was arrested Sept. 1, is being held at Central Prison in Raleigh until his trial.

Prosecutors have said they won't seek the death penalty because there were no aggravating factors to qualify the case as a capital crime.


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